African Imperial Wizard – Cetshwayo KaMpande
The lights dim as the last preview finishes. You munch your last fist full of popcorn, and everyone settles in and the movie begins. “Cetshwayo KaMpande”, the first track on this EP by African Imperial Wizard, leads you slowly into the murky drama that’s about to enrapt you for the next 20 minutes. Rick, brooding strings carry you along over a big belly tribal beat of earthly proportions. Women moan. Hawks cry.
The pace quickens with “Idris Ibn”. The intrigue builds. Shadows move and sway. Unknown hands bang barrels, boxes, and logs. A lizard speaks to you in tongues.
And finally the resolve. “Mansa Moussa”, the third track on the EP, moves slowly out of darkness into light, with marching snares and swelling tones. The people come together, chanting away evil, and overcome the wicked and vile.
This EP is a wild ride. Gorgeously produced, and perfect for the headphones.