Review

Rico Toto

Fwa Épi Sajès

Invisible City Editions • 1993

The foreign and at the same time familiar sounds of the French island of Guadeloupe were brought closer to us listeners for the first time three years ago with the release of »Vwayajé«, a collection of pieces from the 1980s by the Gwakasonné project. This release builds on that. On »Fwa Épi Sajès«, released for the first time on CD exclusively in 1993, musician Rico Toto mixes the Gwo ka rhythms of his homeland, recorded live by the ensemble Moundjahka, with synthesiser music of the kind coined a few years earlier by the Yellow Magic Orchestra and Popol Vuh. An idiosyncratic and stimulating mixture. It clearly reminds us of the third world music of Jon Hassell, only that the trumpeter adapted the sounds and rhythms outside his American musical socialisation, while here the spaced out sounds of the western world have been added to the traditional music of Guadeloupe. An approach from the other side. That changes something in the sound. Musically, »Fwa Épi Sajès« is divided into two sides, whereby the A-side with its euphoric melodies and activating percussion is more turned towards the light, the sun, and the B-side with its heavy, irregular rhythms is more turned towards the darkness, the night. The artwork also reflects this dichotomy. An intelligent, stimulating, highly enriching record.