Various ‘Angola Soundtrack 2. Hypnosis, Distortions and other Sonic Innovations 1969-1978’ 2LP (Ltd.edition)/CD/Digital (Analog Africa) 4/5

AngolaIf say the classicism of the Orchestra Baobab sound combined with Congolese soukous guitar and merengue beats whets your appetite for lilting tropical grooves, then this may just be a compilation to search out for. The result of painstaking research, Angolan music is virtually unknown in the UK save for Bonga and the odd new release. This terrific anthology carries on where vol. 1 started by introducing the listener to some fantastic and melodic sounds, with the emphasis firmly on undulating guitar riffs and rippling percussion. It has to be stated that there is no concession to western pop and so instrumentals are in plentiful supply along with several vocals, but the former are so strong in their hooks that you will be replaying them ad infinitum. From the opening instrumental ‘Avante Jueventude'(Forward youth) by Os Angos to ‘Saudades de Luanda’ by Os Kiezos, there are some irresistible slices of classic 1970s Angolan music on show here. Merengue influences are discernible on ‘Bongololo’ by Kito while fans of Congotronics will hear the link on ‘Urbano de Castro by Kia Lomingo. A fine example of a simple riff being embellished by additional guitar layers can be found on the shuffling instrumental ‘ Sina’ by Jovens do Prenda while the subtle hint of Afro-Beat is contained on the glorious mid-tempo number ‘N’Ga Kunu M’Butu’ by Muhongo. What is so endearing about this anthology is that the musical taste buds are aroused like no other because of the multiplicity of musical influences and it is impossible not to be moved by this. A late contender for one of the year’s most cohesive and intoxicating African music compilations and from a land still relatively unexploited in commercial terms in both Europe and North America. Tim Stenhouse