Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra Liberation Afro Beat Vol. 1

No matter that Liberation Afro Beat Vol. 1 is technically two years old. No matter that Antibalas is so revering of the master, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, that their songs often ride the continuum between referential and close to cover material. No matter that fans and scholars of the Afro-beat sound and history might dismiss Antibalas as come-lately American copycats. This album, previously available only via the Brooklyn band's own tiny Afrosound label and at gig appearances, more than deserves to be heard. Listen to the tighter-than-tight "Dirt and Blood," "Battle of the Species" or "El Machete," monstrous horns all ablaze and bass, beats and percussion holding down the seriously funky fort to hear why. This politically conscious, 14-piece collective creates urgent, raucous, absolutely joyful jazzified funk that's guaranteed to make heads bob and bodies shake. If, at the same time, they opens minds to imagining a world where co-operation and compassion, rather than capitalism and carnage, reign supreme, all the better. We live in a society where advertising and image subvert truly relevant messages, Antibalas ("anti-bullets") aims to illuminate another way. Newer tracks "World War IV" and "Musicawi Silt," recorded live at London's Jazz Café in March of 2000, demonstrate that their light is only growing stronger. (Ninja Tune)