TIROGO Float

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos - — Casey Sanchez

The psy­che­delic rock sound that flowed out of London and San Fran­cisco in the mid-1960s (heard in The Bea­tles’ “Straw­berry Fields For­ever” and Jef­fer­son Air­plane’s “White Rab­bit,” for ex­am­ple) also found many ad­her­ents in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa. The sound of crunchy fuzzbox gui­tars, rolling or­gan so­los, and re­verb-heavy record­ing had a pro­found in­flu­ence on Tirogo, a short-lived ’ 70s psych-rock band from La­gos, Nige­ria. The band sought to com­bine the feed­back-heavy sound­track of the 1967 Sum­mer of Love with the fre­netic Afrobeat sound of Nige­rian su­per­star Fela Kuti. This EP, a 1977 record­ing reis­sued by a Ger­man record la­bel, does an able job of show­ing the rau­cous mu­sic scene that flour­ished in La­gos af­ter the end of the coun­try’s civil war in 1970. Like the al­bum’s lead ti­tle track, “Float,” much of this mu­sic mixes African funk and Amer­i­can gui­tars into rous­ing jam songs. At times, the lyrics have dif­fer­ent con­cerns from those of Amer­i­can and U.K. psy­che­delic bands. “Feed the Nation” tack­les Nige­ria’s then-ex­ist­ing food short­age, ex­hort­ing its lis­ten­ers to grow more food on their own land. An English­language re­lease — Tirogo wouldn’t start sing­ing in Yoruba till later in its ca­reer — this first al­bum can tend to­ward the hum­drum with spaced-out songs like “Gypsy Girl.” But for mu­sic fans whose tastes run to both Afrobeat and psy­che­delic garage rock, this might be a wel­come lis­ten.

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