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Audio Asia: intoxicating Ghanaian drums meet deep house aesthetics on Afrobuddha's 'Obame'

Both of Afrobuddha's sought after EPs made available on one 12" for the very first time


  • Patrizio Cavaliere
  • 13 April 2021
Audio Asia: intoxicating Ghanaian drums meet deep house aesthetics on Afrobuddha's 'Obame'

Title: Obame
Artist: Afrobuddha
Label: Mysticisms
Release Date: Digital out now, vinyl coming soon

Afrobuddha is a project conceived by respected London-based Japanese artists, Kay Suzuki and Koichi Sakai. The music-obsessed pair were known for hosting the Spirits Frequency show on NTS Radio between 2012 and 2015, and their sonic expertise combined to wondrous effect on the two sublime EPs they produced together – 'Obame' in 2011, and 'Zone' 2014. Both releases went on to become cult classics, with the original pressings now exchanging hands for large sums on Discogs. Enter refined UK label Mysticisms, who have now re-issued both titles on the same 12” for the very first time.

'Obame' was produced as “a celebration of the spiritual affinity felt with the African and Afro-Caribbean music community,” and sees Suzuki and Sakai collaborate with pioneering percussionists, the Kakatsitsi Drummers, who originate from the Ga tribe of Southern Ghana. The deeply hypnotic music is a respectful fusion of the rhythm-heavy sounds of traditional Ghanaian drumming, Afrobeat, and house, with a delicate sprinkling of disco-fueled dynamism. Seductive poly-rhythms build over deep, driving bass, while mesmerising chants, enlivening flutes and xylophones motifs amplify the power of the sonic spell. The track appears in an original and slightly stripped dub version, and it's the latter of which we've chosen to play here.

On the flip, 'Zone' captures the essence of London's effervescent global community. The track features the intoxicating rhythms of Ghanaian master drummer Afla Sackey, expertly pounding out congas and djembe over a refreshing 3/4 time signature. The sleazy analogue bass adds a deliciously deviant texture as it effortlessly rolls beneath the trance-inducing drum hits, whispered vocal and dubby effects. 'Zone' also appears in an absorbing 'Drum mix', where the parts are stripped all the way back to allow the rhythm to take centre stage.

All of the music on the EP is exceptional, and this is an excellent opportunity for admirers to own the works on wax without lining the pockets of resale speculators. Very highly recommended.

Afrobuddha 'Obame / Zone' EP is out now digitally and the vinyl is coming soon, you can listen and order here

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