Four years in the making, Analog Africa finally presents the second volume of Africa's funkiest band, the mythical Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. Volume One (The Vodoun Effect - Funk & Sato from Benin's Obscure Labels, 1973 - 1975), released by Analog Africa at the end of 2008, was a collection of amazing lo-fi recordings produced for various labels around Benin. Volume Two showcases superbly recorded tracks, courtesy of the EMI studios in Lagos, Nigeria, one of the best studios in the region. All tracks here were recorded for the mighty Albarika Store label and its enigmatic producer, Adissa Seidou. The four year journey involved criss-crossing Benin, Togo and Niger trying to get hold of the band's recording output which were found in record stocks and had laid untouched for a quarter of a century, reviewing reels and master tapes at the headquarters of Albarika Store, conducting interviews with all the living members of the band, searching for pictures of the Orchestre and licensing the music from the composers and producer. The result: approximately 100 pictures, 120 master tapes, 20 hours of interviews and a few hundred Orchestre Poly-Rythmo vinyl records - 500 songs in total - some of which previously unreleased.
Almost half of those tracks were recorded for Benin's number one label - Albarika Store. Fifteen out of 200 tracks were carefully selected for this compilation which comes with a massive 44-page booklet filled with amazing pictures of the band, a complete discography and a biography tracing the band from its foundation as Groupe Meloclem in 1964 via Sunny Blacks band (1965), Orchestre Poly-Disco (1966), El Ritmo (1967) and finally Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou in 1968.
During the period presented here - 1969 to 1979 - the mighty Orchestre was without any doubt one of Africa's most innovative group. Capable of playing any style of music, the band moved from traditional Vodoun rhythms to Funk, Salsa or Afro-beat seamlessly and quickly became the powerhouse of Benin's music scene, backing most of Africa's stars touring the country, such Manu Dibango, Ernesto Djedje, Bella Bellow, as well as supporting an array of local composers, such as Honore Avolonto, Antoine Dougbé and Danialou Sagbohan.
Those astonishing combinations can be heard here: Afro-Beat, Sato, Funk, Sakpata, Psychedelia and Latin sounds all mixed into a heavy hypnotic sound - Les Echos Hypnotiques.