"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Uncut FEBRUARY 2015 - by John Mulvey
AFRICA EXPRESS PRESENTS... TERRY RILEY'S IN C MALI
A minimalist classic, re-imagined in a Bamako youth club.
For fifty years now, Terry Riley's In C - an openended piece made up of fifty-three short musical phrases - has been a popular vehicle for big improvising collectives. Ideal, then, for the Africa Express project, corralled here by the conductor Andre De Ridder. A bunch of generally unknown Malian musicians lead this forty-minute systemic jam on Riley's themes, with Africa Express regulars Damon Albarn (melodica) and Brian Eno (vocals) keeping notably low profiles. It's an inspired rather than gimmicky conceit, too: who'd have guessed koras and kalimbas would turn out to be the perfect delivery mechanism for this most ecstatic and flighty of minimalist compositions?