We don’t know who exactly who they are. Or where they’re from. Or even when the album was recorded. But what we do know is that Karthala 72 were not messing around. In fact, in their brief and ill-documented existence, they recorded one of the heavier pieces of African psych that we’ve ever heard. Drums bounce over deep bass. Distorted guitars burn over chopping grooves, slowly decaying into echo. Melodies melt into free-jazz, then miraculously return. And then it’s all over. 2:42. Next song.
It’s hard to tell WHAT these guys were listening to- and without dates it may be impossible to figure out. Electric Miles? Santana? Fela? Selda? Regardless of exactly where they got the inspiration, it sounds like they were messing with some seriously potent mojo during these sessions.
The extent of the lack of information about this record is startling, and due entirely to the reticence of the musicians involved. According to Paul Jettricks, who helped to organize the release, “They won’t tell us exactly when or where the recordings were done but are happy for them to be released as long as they don’t have to do anything! They say that they’re ‘from a different life’…”
Too good to be true? Perhaps. But- until we can gather some more information, we are going to have to be content with the acid-scorched afrobeat jams that remain. Which isn’t all that bad, considering…
Grab a free download of Dans le Coeur du Feu below!
The full album, Diable du Feu!, is out on Electric Cowbell Records digitally on Nov 1st, and on limited edition vinyl on the 13th. Get yourself some!