You can trace the inspiration for this ninth volume of the FRKWYS series -- the RVNG Intl. label's matching of "contemporary artists with those that may have preceded them in style and/or approach" -- back to the 1977 album Heart of the Congos, where the roots reggae harmonies of the Congos met the dub experimentation of Lee Perry, and with legendary results. Here avant-garde post-rockers Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gengras take Perry's place without trying to replace him, and the results are trippy, tropical, and -- best of all -- full of life. After some wide open numbers that are akin to floating in a crystal-blue ocean with mushrooms on the assist (the bleepy and percussive "New Binghi," the very bright and very Holger Czukay "Happy Song," both aptly titled), the album slowly morphs and sobers, becoming more Congos-driven with slow, soul-filling chants of freedom sitting on top of waterlogged dubs. The stickler here has to be "Jungle," which borders on comedic, sprawling across the floor like a screwed and chopped "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," but consider that there's plenty of levity to be had on both the West Coast and in Jamaica, the locations where these sessions were recorded. If the two were next to one another, this could be the casual border music, at least the avant roots side of it, so kudos to all involved for the imaginary passport and respect to RVNG for delivering on the idea of the Folkways label in an alternate universe.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2