Tony Allen / Various Lagos Shake: A Tony Allen Chop Up

Of all the original Afrobeat artists, Tony Allen has been the greatest experimenter, bringing with him the authority of not only having been Fela’s go-to guy but having built Afrobeat from the ground up. Lagos Shake: A Tony Allen Chop Up is not the only time he’s been remixed into unrecognizability, but it shows this year’s model has a few new bells and whistles. The low-down groove of Chicago’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble carefully maps Eastern-sounding brass on top of Allen’s jazzy snares. Both members of Rhythm and Sound add even more space between the beats, creating typically masterful dub house tracks, including Mark Ernestus’s disco dub, which sounds like it could have fit right into New York’s Zanzibar club circa 1981. More frenetic work is provided by Diplo, Newham Generals and Bonde Do Role. Their mixes are fun and danceable but remove Allen’s swing in favour of busy drum machine programming that ultimately doesn’t hold up as well on repeat listens. Three cultural transplants are performed as well. Salah Ragab’s Cairo version of "Ole” is a cooking Maghrebian salsa. Son Palenque De Colombia’s "Samba” isn’t but it is a slinky, tropical version of Allen’s groove. And Warreika Hill sounds "Reggae Land Dub” is a powerful and smoky mix. While this is a bit of a mixed bag, it’s still a worthy investment by Honest Jons to get this project together. (Honest Jon's)