Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Le Général Defao

  • "Ambiance Plus" (Bana Congo Vol. 2 Dance Mix) [Roma Productions, 1999] B+
  • Anthologie Defao [FFRR, 2008] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

"Ambiance Plus" (Bana Congo Vol. 2 Dance Mix) [Roma Productions, 1999]
Well after soukous supposedly withered away, a second-tier crowd-pleaser with a willingness to throw his big body into a dance he named puts out his 17th or 18th album, something like that. Vocally he's no Wemba or Rochereau, but Manda Chante (of Wenge Musica, how did you miss him?) caramelizes one track, and Le Jeune Makuta, Likanga Mangenza, and others I've never heard of take guest turns. Vocal colors shift as leads come and go; the chorus expands and contracts. Rhythms converge, thin out, flow horizonward. A saxophone comes in to garnish the guitars. Songs segue for easier dancing, or divide into parts the dancers better be ready for. The jollity is general, audible. A generic good time is had by all. B+

Anthologie Defao [FFRR, 2008]
Soukous in the somewhat saccharine '00s manner, its groove gentle and its pain hidden beneath synth washes and the language barrier ("Famille Kikuta," "Papa na Bénédicte"). **

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