Afriqua Colored

Afriqua Colored
9
Once in a while, an album comes along that completely throws you for a loop. You know it seems familiar — all the usual elements are there — but they're presented in such a way that whole thing sounds absolutely idiosyncratic. Afriqua's debut full-length is one of those records.
 
On the face of it, Colored is a celebration of African-American music from the last 100 years, but at no point is it, in any way, pastiche, or even nostalgic. There are strands of funk, soul, disco and political strife dotted throughout the album, but they're never the focus. Instead, they're merely small players in a record that spends far more time looking forward than it does looking back.
 
"Space Dookie," for example, has wisps of Funkadelic (and indeed a sample of their track "(Not Just) Knee Deep"), but its very much thrust into a more modern context. Colored pulls this off a number of times, loosely referencing something from the past, but still making it sound contemporary. Couple that with the beautiful piano interludes like "Zenith," which was recorded in Nils Frahm's studio, and the occasional hip-hop segue, such as "Go Tell It," and you've got yourself one of the most intriguing records of the year so far. (R&S)