Various Artists – Afro Deep Volume 2 (Beating Heart)


Originally launched in Malawi in 2016 before more recently relocating to London, the Beating Heart label has developed a reputation for splicing vintage African recordings with house, techno and electro elements, their previous releases having featured the likes of Luke Vibert, Ibibio Sound Machine and Auntie Flo. One of the biggest factors that’s enabled this is the label’s exclusive access to the world’s largest collection of vintage African field recordings, housed at the International Library of African Music in South Africa.

This latest download-only EP centres on recordings of 1950s Ugandan music, and offers up five new tracks from four different international producers (two of them African). Ugandan producer Faizal Mostrixx’s ‘Afro Cosmic’ kicks things off with a rush of shuffling Afro-house rhythms before icy synth sequences start spiralling out against looped Soca vocal samples, the bouncing polyrhythms seeming to duel for space with the glittering electronics as sampled vocal stabs chatter back and forth through the mix.

If the aforementioned track sits somewhere between a frenetic polyrhythmic rush and wide-eyed bliss, South African producer Floyd Lavine’s ‘My African Acid’ sets rolling tribal drums and sampled call and response group vocals against searing acid 303 lines and crisply pressurised tech-house kickdrums, in what’s easily one of the most peaktime-oriented moments here.

Elsewhere, Belgian producer Le Motel’s ‘Drum Roll’ drops the pace down a few notches, taking things off on a Afro-trap laced bass-heavy wander through dewy analogue synth chords, echoing vocal loops and clicking off-beats, before 2fox’s ‘Longanda’ unleashes a tumbling fusion of thumb-piano melodies, glitchy crackles, soulful keys and pneumatic 4/4 house beats that serves as the perfect backing for the sampled female vocal calls that ripple through it. As a sample of Beating Heart’s fusion of vintage African field recordings with contemporary dance elements, ‘Afro Deep Volume 2’ is pure class.


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