I'm a little late to this train but I just got hooked on this afro-beat group from Munich (?!) Karl Hector and the Malcouns. Their record, which came out during the summer, is called Sahara Swing out on Stones Throw and it's a fierce, lean piece of funk. It's not only that a group like this would survive in Munich, which probably isn't that surprising, I'm sure Kraut funk has been around at least since Can has copped to it, but that the record manages to sound both totally authentic and new. The authenticity is there in the breakbeats, wah-wahs, beefy bari sax solos, the overall tautness of the rhythm section, and the tubed up fuzz of the whole production aesthetic. But the newness, and really the real interest of this record is all in the details. Hear the organs far too fuzzed up and dissonant than funk would normally elicit (especially in "Nyx" and the title track "Sahara Swing"), way more Chick Corea than Art Neville. Hear the clave out in orbit on "Mystical Brotherhood", the polytonal wanderings of the organ in "Debere", trumpet runs fed through the psyche blender (also "Nyx"), or the 4 against 3 slow motion of "Sahara Swing" which seriously sounds like the whole rhythm section is trying so hard to slow down it's nearly reversing time. You get the sense they're much more into Bitches Brew era Miles or Brown Rice era Don Cherry than they are Africa 70 and I sincerely hope that they'll worry less in their next record about being the next Fela party band (cause we've already got Antibalas for that) and that they'll hire Danger Mouse or whoever produced the Battles record to make some truly weird afro-beat. But for now I'll settle for some subtlety in my funk.

Sahara Swing
Mystical Brotherhood
Rush Hour


Don Cherry's Brown Rice

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