Ghetto Palms: Coupe Decale / Afro-Trance

May 28, 2008

Every week resident FADER selector Eddie STATS runs through dancehall riddims and other artifacts from the ghetto archipelago.

This week is dedicated to the explosion of coupe decale—uptempo madness out of the Ivory Coast which is making a lot of noise in Europe and all over the African diaspora, along with some other tracks inspired or related to it, including some Angolan kuduro from DJ Znobia. I could get all anthropological and delve into the context of it but other more knowledgable people have already done that.

Decale/Afro-Trance blend:

Tony Allen vs. Bonde do Role, “Awa Nare remix”

Usher vs. Chief Boima, “Love in this African Club”

Bablee, “Tout Est Dedans”

Elephant Man vs. Chief Boima, “Free Your Soul” (Decale refix)

DJ Znobia, “Mono Mono”

Radioclit, “Secousse”

Konono No. 1, “Paradiso”

Download: Decale/Afro-Trance Blend

The intro is actually Bonde do Role refixing Tony Allen which I got from the good people at Honest Jon’s. In real life it’s a reverse engineer of a baile funk tambarzao pattern out of the afrobeat track but it sounds like the opposite, like afro-Brazilian drums stripped down until just the West African parts of its DNA-coil are left stranding. Next is an Africanized Usher refix by Bay Area selector Chief Boima who has been ambassadoring (yes I like to be specific with my verbs) the decale sound about as hard as is humanly possible about as far west as he could go. He very generously laced me with a couple of his own dub-plate style Decale white labels, including the Elephant man refix below. He also foolishly put me up on the secret uptown CD-R decale spot thereby ensuring another column in the near future, about when the temperature in NY reaches Africa-hot levels.

“Tout Est Dedans” by Bablee is like the decale ur-track as far as I’m concerned (and as far as people in the FADER office being amped about it as a movement). There are about 10 different versions of this song floating around the net, some of which are called “Sous Les Cocotiers” and some of which are calle “Ca Peut Tuer” but this mix is the craziest, most instrumental and most percussive of all possible universes ie it sounds like a Chicago house percapella mix ca. 1986 if Babatunde Olatunji was programming the drum kits instead of Ron Hardy. Bablee also has a 12” out on Radioclit’s label Upper Cuts called “Bablee Samuz” which sounds more like a bullfight inside a stadium-size Casio (more on ‘Clit below). If the three minutes of superpolyrhythmical madness I included here seem excessive, keep in mind that the total running time is 19:36 (that’s minutes and seconds) and it just keeps building in intensity throughout.

“Free Your Soul,” which pits an Ele vocal from a soca-ish track against a decale beat, is like the perfect illustration of what I was going for with this mix. IE the full spectrum of carnival sounds that runs from soca, zouk into kuduro, decale and even samba and baile funk that all kind of flows together even though they are associated with different countries and languages (basically people getting mad but waving different flags in the air while doing it). It also makes a nice segue into a kuduro track from the mad genius of Angola aka DJ Znobia, who I won’t say much about here only because he will definitely get his own column soon.

“Secousse” is from UK-based DJs and Esau Mwamwaya producers Radioclit, and is named for their monthly party, where they’ve been instrumental in breaking the sound with hipster Londonites. It mixes with decale but is really sort of a kuduro or ku-techno track which sounds like it samples or is at least inspired by the bazombo trance of Konono #1. Which seemed like a good excuse to close out with their hardest track “Paradiso.”

Posted: May 28, 2008
Ghetto Palms: Coupe Decale / Afro-Trance