Various Angola

Analog Africa resists an introduction like: "for their latest release, the label travels to Angola." Long established as one of the most reputable labels dealing with African sounds, their compilation of Angolan sounds of the '70s is a winner in many senses. A 44-page booklet chronicles founder Samy Ben Redjeb's efforts to piece together a picture of the country, as well as featuring absorbing biographies of the artists within. Apparently, two recording companies (Fadiang and Valentim De Carvalho) were largely responsible for the production of these electric Angolan hybrids. The immediate musical comparison that comes to mind is Brazil, whose samba is derived from Angolan semba. The sounds also look to the African continent for Congolese guitar and rhythmic inspirations. As a result, there's a relaxed grooviness that feels instinctively familiar despite this compilation's groundbreaking nature. In such a consistent collection, it's hard to name favourites, so let's go with those with the most intense percussive valence: the percolating "Semba Braguez," by Os Korimbas, and the itchy groove of "Tira Sapato," by Dimba Diangola. (Analog Africa)