African Electronic Music 1975-1982 compiles recordings from the earlier portion of multi-instrumentalist, writer, and musicologist Francis Bebey's output. Employing traditional Western and African instrumentation as well as innovations of the era like synthesizers and drum machines, his sound was a forward-thinking and richly engaging blend of African roots music, the makossa (urban popular music) of his native Cameroon, and the then-emerging electronic music movement. Simultaneously minimal and layered, Bebey's ebullient melodies, kinetic rhythms, and endearing vocals (sung and toasted in his native Duala as well as in French and English) highlight songs like the marimba- and bass-driven "New Track" and the wryly bubbly "Coffee Cola Song," paving the way for artists like Afro-funk fusionist Manu Dibango, electrified thumb piano innovators Konono No. 1, and avant-afro groovers NOMO.
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AllMusic Review by Chrysta Cherrie