Kretek Up to a Higher Level

If you were to judge an album by its cover, this record might intrigue a lot of people — a tribe of African drummers in full session, complete with a dancer masked in a horned, feathered headpiece, photographed in full sunlight with the blurry lines of rapid motion caught by the camera. Up to a Higher Level is a track befitting such a strong image — intensely tribal house-y rhythms with African chanting and a very danceable bass line make this album a winner, an authentically primal exclamation of joie de vivre bound to get hips swinging and feet moving. Belgique Musique definitely has a feel for deep, groovy, tribal music that mesmerises in its intensity; also, this is the second twelve-inch I have heard from them that is equally hypnotic in its slower incarnation (play it at 33 instead of 45) and thus suitable for a completely different dance floor. Belgian producer Olivier Abbeloos includes two remixes of this moving track on the flip side, a more vocal version (“the Afrovox mix”) and the sped-up aptly-dubbed “Year 2293 Mix.” The Afrobeat feel that has been growing more and more popular on dance floors worldwide is indeed well represented by these nifty boys from Belgium. (Belgique)