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World - Released October 27, 2021 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released September 14, 2021 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released August 18, 2021 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released July 8, 2021 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released June 3, 2021 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released January 1, 1977 | Knitting Factory Records

Recorded in 1977, No Agreement follows the Afro-beat template to a masterful level: amazingly catchy guitar lines that replicate a bass guitar in their construction, a second guitarist to add some JB's funk power, driving horn section proclamations, intricate saxophone, trumpet and organ improv solos, and then Fela Anikulopo Kuti's wit and message for the people. Even though Fela had vowed to speak his mind, he turns in a song where he proclaims to keep his mouth shut if it means that he will harm his brothers and sisters in the population (not that he actually does, as some of his most scathing songs have yet to come). "No Agreement" is decidedly some of the most interesting instrumentation that he had turned in. With help from Art Ensemble of Chicago trumpeter extradordinare Lester Bowie (Bowie turned in a tenure of about a year with Fela), the solos are magically inspired and the rhythm section rolls on with the power of a steamroller. "Dog Days," the instrumental B-side, sounds more like "No Agreement" part two; it does, however, carry its own weight -- again with the help from Bowie. [In 2000, MCA released No Agreement with Shuffering and Shmiling as a two-fer.] © Sam Samuelson /TiVo
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World - Released April 8, 2021 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released March 18, 2021 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released January 1, 1975 | Knitting Factory Records

Fela Kuti's 1975 Confusion shows him and Africa 70 at the heights of instrumental prowess and ambiguous jibes (the stabs are about to get a bit more direct and heated with 1977's Zombie). "Confusion" begins with an unusual free jazz interplay between Fela on organ and drummer Tony Allen that has the presence of 2001: A Space Odyssey in its omnipresent drama. Then the group falls into a lengthily mid-tempo Afro funk that plays with a sureness that only comes from skilled musicians and a dictator-like leader; here is the formula that had made Fela a genius: Once he has the listener (or the crowd -- as all of his songs were originally meant to entertain and educate his audiences at the Shrine) entranced in his complex (and at the same time, deceptively simple) arrangements of danceable grooves, he hits them with what he wants to say. "Confusion" is a comment on the general condition of urban Nigeria (Lagos, in particular). Fela uses traffic jams, no fewer than three dialects, and a multitude of currencies that make trading difficult to complete the allusion to the general post-colonial confusion of a Nigeria lacking in infrastructure and proper leadership. Confusion is a highly recommended 25-minute Afro-beat epic. [In 2000, MCA released Confusion and Gentleman as a two-fer.] © Sam Samuelson /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released May 1, 2020 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released January 28, 2021 | Knitting Factory Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 14, 2021 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released January 1, 1972 | Knitting Factory Records

Fela Kuti was often described as "the James Brown of Africa," but one could also argue that he was Africa's equivalent of Miles Davis or John Coltrane. Truth be told, either description is valid. Kuti was highly eclectic, and his innovative, visionary music contained elements of funk/soul, jazz, and blues, as well as African music. That eclectic spirit proves to be a major asset on Shakara, which consists of two 13-minute performances by Kuti's Africa 70 band: "Lady" and "Shakara (Oloie)." Performed in English, "Lady" finds Kuti criticizing modern African women in a humorous way for becoming what he sees as overly westernized and embracing a western view of feminism. You might agree or disagree with the song's viewpoint, but the groove and the beat are irresistible. Equally addictive -- and equally sarcastic -- is "Shakara (Oloje)," which is sung in both Yoruba and English and makes fun of the type of pompous, loud-mouthed braggarts who can never make good on their empty boasts. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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Rock - Released December 2, 2020 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released November 12, 2020 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released October 16, 2020 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released January 1, 2008 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released January 1, 1977 | Knitting Factory Records

Zombie was the most popular and impacting record that Fela Kuti & Africa 70 would record -- it ignited the nation to follow Fela's lead and antagonize the military zombies that had the population by the throat. Fela is direct and humorous in his attack as he barks out commands to the soldiers like: "Attention! Double up! Fall In! Fall out! Fall down! Get ready!" Meanwhile, his choir responds with "Zombie!" in between each statement. Since the groove was so absolutely contagious, it took the nation by storm: People in the street would put on a blank stare and walk with hands affront proclaiming "Zombie!" whenever they would see soldiers. If "Zombie" caught the attention of the populous it also cought the attention of the authority figures -- this would cause devastating personal and professional effects as the Nigerian government came down on him with absolute brute force not long after the release of this record. Also included are "Monkey Banana," a laid-back groove that showcases drummer Tony Allen's mastery of the Afro-beat, and "Everything Scatter," a standard mid-tempo romp. Both songs are forgetful in relation to "Zombie," but this is still an essential disc to own for the title track alone. © Sam Samuelson /TiVo
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World - Released February 2, 1983 | Knitting Factory Records

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World - Released March 20, 2020 | Knitting Factory Records