The Pace Setters
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Editions EG 2302.113
Continuing the thread here at Soundological, we present Edikanfo's The Pace Setters from 1981, notable for being produced by Brian Eno. Beyond his connection there doesn't seem to be much other info than what we've dug up and included here for your edification in the second part of our Ghana Soundz Outernational mini-series. We're taking a look at a few recordings made by Ghanaians in or with Westerners. Previously we covered the grandaddy of them all, Guy Warren, and for this installment we're back to Africa with one of the world's foremost studio whizzes. Basically his contribution was to make a fantastic band sound better and show his hosts some engineering tips while they taught him rhythm. Listening to this album, you can hear just how much he was schooled by them.
Paa Akrashie - Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Flugelhorn, Percussion, Vocals
Gilbert Amartey - Bass, Percussion, Vocals
Albert Williams - Conga, Talking Drums, Vocals
George Williams - Drums, Lead Vocals
Kwesi Okran - Lead Guitar, Vocals
William Quist - Percussion, Master Drums, Vocals
Ishmael Odai - Piano, Synthesizer, String Ensemble, Vocals
Osei Tutu - Trumpet, Percussion, Vocals
1 NKA Bom
2 Something Iefeh-O
4 Blinking Eyes
5 Moonlight Africa
6 Daa Daa Edikanfo
by Ted Mills
Talking Heads' Remain in Light (1980) had adapted and bent African pop music to its own ends, no doubt from the influence of lead man David Byrne and Brian Eno, who were discovering the music of Fela Kuti and the like. It wasn't too surprising then, that a year later Eno went to Ghana to produce an Afro-beat group called Edikanfo. Produce is definitely the term, not collaborate, because without Eno's name on the cover, you'd never know he had his hand in this one. Primarily, this is because Edikanfo were already a tight, accomplished band, and not, like a lot of groups that work with Eno, looking for "a new direction." If being on EG Records allowed Edikanfo to sell more records in the West, that was fine. Their music is upbeat, extended, horn- and organ-led jams, like the terrific "Nka Bom" and the funky "Blinking Eyes." Sadly, their one album is all that remains of them in the West.
There's a great interview with Osei Tutu & producer Faycal Helawi written by an Eno fan who went to Ghana over at Eno fansite More Dark Than Shark. Here's an excerpt:
Faycal sighs and swallows a new lychee. "I find that incredible. Mr Eno passes through here and everyone comes to hear news about him. But Eno came here amongst us to learn. He helped to record the disc of one of my groups, in my studio, nothing more."
Didn't he play himself?
"Not much. From time to time he would strap on a guitar to support the rhythmic section."
He did not come only for that.
"No. He helped us to use all the possibilities of the studio. He is a first-class engineer. All the musicians will tell you so."
He's a musician too.
"I tell you that we recorded a disc of my group, Edikanfo."
Can we listen to it?
"You do not have a hidden tape recorder I hope..."
I am permitted to hear only one piece. Near enough to Fela, a full orchestra that roars, frantic percussion, blasts of tearing trumpets.
Where is Eno in all of this ?
"Arrangements, echo and resonance effects. But listen a little how one makes rock'n'roll here. Over the drums, one adds percussion. You hear the congas? How hard they strike. This is African Rock. What a shame, we do not have the means. The puppets, the puppets of the large companies who spend their time in costume, under the ventilators, invest only in disco music, funk, the commercial salads. The groups here are obliged to resift. In Ghana, we do not even have a pressing plant. We have to go to Nigeria. There, there are African companies. But you know the history of Fela. One day he stole accounts books at Decca and he discovered that he had sold a hundred thousand discs and that he had been robbed."
Not exactly rare but you don't hear or see a lot about this release, so Soundological thought it'd be a good idea to make it available HERE or HERE.