Take 5 with XOA

XOA is an exciting new project from producer Nick Tyson (of Gentleman’s Dub Club fame and also a successful jazz musician prior to this latest venture), through which he creates warm, tropical sounds full of deep grooves, and sizzling with analogue synths, guitars and percussion. Nick told us “jeez it’s pretty hard to narrow a selection down to just 5 tunes, especially with such a rise in interesting underground music literally coming from every corner of the globe, embracing local styles, and club influences too. For XOA, the project was born from a desire to bring the rhythms of afrobeat and funk, and blend them with a modern production asethetic, with a mixture of live instrumentation and programming. So a couple of the tunes are classics, and the rest are what’s getting me excited right now. Bigups to Flux for the feature”. We were very grateful to Nick for sitting down with us to Take 5. Be sure to check out XOA – AIYE LE, out on Shake earlier this month.

1. Fela Kuti – Shakara (Afro-Rock Spécial Discothèque)

“The man, the myth, the legend, the sound, the horn lines, the grooves, Tony Allen. This track has it all.”

2. Herbie Hancock – Butterfly (Columbia)

“Undeniably the biggest single musical influence on my life so far, and of so many of my contemporaries. The man is a genius, and much like Miles, is always searching for new sounds, new directions, new killing players…Mix that atttitude with his compositional prowess and insane musicality and you get smash after smash. This track has so much understated groove, such beautiful writing, great solos. During that period the way he wrote the grooves, the use of percussion – I see a lot of similarities with the more acoustic house tracks and how they’re built up. Constant inspiration.”

3. Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra – Too Much Information – Laolu Remix (Innervisions)

“I had the pleasure to work with Dele Sosimi for our debut release ‘Aiye Le’. He was Fela Kuti‘s musical director and keyboard player for a period, and now leads his own afrobeat orchestra out of London. His sensibility with the vocals, and how they work with the groove is what I appreciate most about Dele. He totally gets the new wave of electronic music influenced by Fela et al that is being created now and is embracing collaborations with new artists. This ones a remix from his album last year by the producer Laolu on the consistently dope label Innervisions. I was lucky to grab a 12″ at Phonica and the artwork is beautiful too. Straight in the DJ set.”

4. Havana Cultura Band – Okay Cuba (Débruit Remix) (Brownswood Recordings)

“Part of Gilles Peterson‘s excellent Havana Cultura project, this track blows my mind, such great rhythmical interplay (as always from Debruit) between the samples and new production, great structure, beautiful synth sounds. Check out the project and all the other tracks on the release from the likes of Pepe Bradock, Glenn Astro, Al Dobson Jr.”

5. Dominowe – Africa’s Cry (GQOM OH!)

“I picked this up a couple weeks back at Rye Wax in Peckham (lovely shop / lovely selection / lovely peeps / lovely tacos). It’s big, bashy, raw, and scares me a little bit. It’s out on GQOM OH! from Durban, SA. Lights off, sound up.”