Published Feb 18, 2020Nyege Nyege Tapes is a relatively youthful label; based in Kampala, Uganda, the imprint has spent the last four years releasing the hottest electronic sounds from across the African continent. Their latest is an exploration into the Malian experience of Balani Show, a fast-paced party music that originated in the late 1990s.
As DJs supplanted Balafon groups — musical combos based around a large xylophone-like instrument — in social settings (for economic reasons), the formerly traditional music began to undergo a digital transformation. Electronic drums, synths and samples were dubbed onto cassettes to create a crashing hybrid of the established and the modern.
DJ Diaki is the nom de guerre of one Diaki Kone, a disciple of the DJ credited as being the originator of the Balani Show sound, Seydou Bagayoko. His music is hyper-real: a hypnotic blend of balafon samples, rapid-fire drum machine beats, whistles, synths and other fascinating sounds. His music strikes a delicate balance between repetition and improvisation; whirling synths may chirp along for an eternity, while frantic drum fills pop in for only a short while.
Balani Fou, which is also the name that DJ Diaki gives to his own unique style of Balani Show, is a survey of some of his finest moments. On it, the producer showcases his signature technique, where he performs live remixes of the already hectic music he has prepared.
These are the sounds of partying at its most pure, a brilliant cacophony that is ripe for all manner of high-speed limb twisting. Curious ears — and bodies — are wise to tap into this deftly woven maelstrom of high impact rhythm. (Nyege Nyege Tapes)