V/A - Synthesize the Soul: Astro-Atlantic Hypnotica from the Cape Verde Islands 1973-1988
Engulfed by the Atlantic Ocean but situated not too far off the coast of West Africa, the island of Cape Verde won independence from Portugal in 1975. Freedom has its price as the people of Cape Verde struggled to find an identity and in some ways, yearned to integrate out of the isolation of island life.
This yearning motivated many of the musicians to travel throughout Europe and the US hunting for new sounds, and specifically new instrumentation, to bring back to the island. The result was the introduction of the synthesizer which was wonderfully integrated into the island’s stew of hypnotic funk, boogie, latin and afrobeat. Eager to hear new sounds with their newfound independence, Cape Verdeans embraced the synth and it graces almost all the tracks on this stellar, truly unique compilation.
The amalgamation of new instruments and multiple styles gives much of the music an alien, almost mutant sound but in its crudeness, still retains a steady groove. If you’ve grown a little weary of yet another African Funk / Afrobeat reissue from the 70’s fear not, Synthesize the Soul is a true gem in the lot. Nothing else sounds quite like this. (Dom)
Check out a track here.