Africa Express: Egoli review – an end-to-end party album

Damon Albarn

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(Africa Categorical)

Five albums in, and Africa Express – Damon Albarn’s cross-cultural collaboration engine – has pitched up in Johannesburg, often known as Egoli in Xhosa. It might be the most effective iteration but of this speed-dating pop writer’s camp, by which a handful of UK and US artists (Nick Zinner, a returnee, plus Super Furry Gruff Rhys and dirt MC Ghetts, to name three) and a 20-stong forged of native producers, musicians, singers and groove-bringers pull an album together in every week.

Because of South Africa’s huge pure assets of dance music, both conventional and bleeding-edge, Egoli is a party album virtually end to finish, an update on Buraka Som Sistema’s Angolan-Portuguese rave dynamics and more like a Gorillaz document than something you may normally file beneath “world music”. The frisky, blue-wigged Moonchild Sanelly locks horns with Infamous Boiz, innovators in South Africa’s gqom genre. Together they lead the charge for body-moving pop.

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