Tony Allen – Ole (Moritz Von Oswald Remix)
Released on Damon Albarn’s Honest Jon’s Records, this Moritz Von Oswald remix is proof that the Gorillaz frontman has a delicate taste in electronic music. With the original version coming from an album titled ‘Lagos Shake’, the Nigerian influence is strong with this one. Oswald is a German multi-instrumentalist whose extensive releases like ‘Watamu Beach Rework‘ demonstrate production influenced by 1970s bands responsible for the Kosmische movement like Tangerine Dream and Can. His collaboration with Mark Ernestus as Basic Channel introduced the world to some of the most pioneering minimal and dub tech releases. Their subsequent label Rhythm & Sound output drew influence from the dub reggae scene. Here Oswald takes his production mastery to transform Tony Allen’s original into a dub techno ambrosia.
The track begins with a set of djembe drums played with great adroitest of Yinka Ogunye. A lingering analogue synth reminiscent of a Ibiza Chillout compilation simmers with intent to collaborate. The symbiotic relationship between natural and technological instrumentation is captivating. Rather than contrasting, they manoeuvre in communion that is refreshing. Then, ninety seconds in, the the prime mover of the track announces its entrance with the charisma of Alexander the Great. A husky kick supplements a sangfroid bassline that is cadenced yet serene. An African vocalist chants ecclesiastic chants with sombre conviction. Though the words may sound alien, the spirit with which they are sung is universal. To complete this beautiful canvas, an oceanic ambient soundscapes wash over the rhythm created by the existing elements. A deep cut that’s refreshing for the mind.
The face behind the voice is that of Fatai Rolling Dollar, the late highlife Nigerian musician who found his fame in 1950s. ‘Ole’ belongs to a heritage of afro dub releases that retain the spirit of the forefathers. If you’re looking for a more spellbinding take then Mark Ernestus’ ‘Masikulu’ will surprise you. For a mix of tech & deep house, this Esnard Boisdur Vs Frankie Francis & Simbad track will cut your senses sharper than a Batangas knife. The ‘Ole’ remix, however, makes our curation this time due to its unlaxing groove that bridges the gap between native percussion and modern synth.