Various Artists: 37th State

~ Thursday, 3 February 2011
This double album looks specifically at the musical scene of the Nigerian music community in London. The albums title comes from the nickname given to London by the Nigerian community that lives there... all 100,000 of them. This compilation is the brainchild of musicians Stephane Malce and Dele Sosimi, with its aim being to introduce the depth of talent within the community they live and work in. The vibe of the album is chilled and based in funk, hip hop and dub that gives no clues to its heritage or locale as it could easily have been made by musicians from New York, Stockholm or Berlin as the styles on display here can be heard in any of these places.

The best known name on the album is Keziah Jones (well.. best known to me). His tracks
Fire and Invisible Hands are slow funk that never really gets going and suffers from a repetitiveness that borders on boredom. Things only look up with the arrival of Tony Allen's Best Bet which marries African style with James Brown funk in a magical soulful soup. Ty's All Get Down is a classy slice of Hip Hop that we have came to expect from him after last years well received Special Kind Of Fool album. Perhaps the one track with 'hit' potential is the smooth Ladies UK from Elle Holland and Giffy. Holland is blessed with a magnificent voice while Giffy has a lyrical flow that brings to mind Just Jack or The Streets.

The second of the two discs features remixes of tracks from the first disc and is far more of a floor filler with the two remixes of Keziah Jone's Invisible Hands being the pick of the bunch. Greg Cerrone takes on remixing duties and delivers two club friendly floor fillers with the second remix being the funkiest and best.

This is a good collection of tracks from a scene that deserves more exposure than it get. It reminds me of the type of output that San Fran/New York label Naked Music does so well. If you are looking for a record to get you in the mood before you head out for a night on the town then this one may just fit the bill.

[][][][] (4/5)