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Rhythmatist

5.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Koteja (Oh Bolilla)
  2. Brazzaville
  3. Liberté
  4. Coco
  5. Kemba
  6. Samburu Sunset
  7. Gong Rock
  8. Franco
  9. Serengeti Long Walk
  10. African Dream


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: A&M
  • ASIN: B000002GH0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,987 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Nicole N. Pellegrini on January 15, 2005
Format: Audio CD
As Stewart Copeland himself has said in interviews in the past, the drummer's pilgrimmage to Africa to study rhythm is a rather cliched concept in this day and age. Still, Copeland--former drummer & founder of the groundbreaking rock trio the Police--manages to turn the cliche on its head with this marvelous album. More than pure rhythm and drumming, Copeland features and samples African singing and vocal chants, in particular those by the wonderful Ray Lema, who wrote or co-wrote several tracks on the disc.

Overall the sound is rich, inviting, intoxicating. Animal grunts, chirps, and whistles blend together with the music and voices, and of course Copeland's own phenomenal drumwork. About half of the tracks are instrumental, including the driving "Gong Rock" (with Copeland on guitar as well as drums) and the whimsical "Samburu Sunset". Two tracks feature Copeland's love-it-or-hate-it singing as well, including "Serengetti Long Walk" where his hilarious deadpan monologue is preceeded by some absolutely stellar drum fills. On the final cut, Stewart and Ray sing together of the "African Dream", leading the listener off into a mysterious, inviting dreamworld as well.

This is truly a lost gem of an album, woefully underappreciated (especially when compared to the adulation and attention Paul Simon received for "Graceland" -- not to knock that fine album as well, but he is far from the only pop/rock performer to attempt to share African music and musicians with the rest of the world.) This album is not just for Copeland fans or Police completists, but for anyone who is interested in exploring unusual, adventurous music. Highly recommended, if you can find it!
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Format: Audio CD
The sound of African rhythms experimented with by Peter Gabriel in 1980 with his single BIKO and the huge success of Paul Simon's GRACELAND seemed to have taken hold of the public conscience while the bridge between the 2 THE RHYTHMATIST went sadly unnoticed.
Stewart Copeland for 2 decades has been acknowledged as one of the best drummers in rock music, some of the percussion on this disc is breathtaking. One has to wonder if Paul Simon himself didn't draw heavily from this disc while he was composing Graceland.
The album is 70% instrumental but you don't miss the vocals at all. This is truly music that can stand on it's own. Stewart does lend his vocals on a handful of tracks however.
Some key tracks are 'KOTEJA', 'SERENGETTI LONG WALK', and 'COCO' the last of which features some of the best mind-blowing percussion you'll ever hear.
If you're a music fan, and by that I mean an open minded listener, this disc will not dissapoint, and I assure you it will stand apart from your music collection.
Time will forget this disc unfortunatley, as for when it was released in '85 it was groundbreaking and still touches musical nuances yet to be explored by major acts.
Albums like this distinguish bands from artist
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Format: Audio CD
This is a great album with a unique sound (no surprise with Stewart Copeland). I think it's his best and one of my all-time favorite albums. The tracks seem to tell a story in their original order, and they fit together well. The music is a very pleasing fusion of African music, singing, and sounds of the wild with Copeland's recognizable style of percussive rock music. This is an original work of art - as other reviewers have said, an underrated gem.

Enjoy!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have to echo everything already said here, except to correct the review that states that this disc contains no vocals. More than half of the album does, in fact, contain a variety of vocals, from tribal chants by indigenous African tribesmen to lead vocal arrangements (mostly performed by Ray Lema), as well as some pleasingly strange narrative by Stewart himself.

Following on the brilliance of his "Rumble Fish" score, this record finds Copeland exploring traditional African music with the same kind of experimental spirit that made his previous film score so unique. While not quite as abstract as "Rumble Fish", this album fuses tribal chants, traditional African vocal arrangements and lyricism, traditional African musical arrangement, natural (animal) noises, experimental/improvisational percussion and drumming, and a variety of other clever tricks into a cohesive whole that takes the listener on a journey through the villages and plains of Africa.

The first half of the record is full of lively chants and typically melodic African song, highlighted by beautifully performed vocal arrangements and harmonies, much of which is sung in native tongue. As the album progresses, however, it takes a turn into somewhat darker territory, as it ebbs and flows through Copeland's unique and rather eccentric aesthetic filter, resulting in several instrumental arrangements that carry an energy and sense of mystique as intriguing as the Dark Continent itself. Track by track, one gets the sense that each instrumental is telling a story, attempting to describe the subjective experiences of an explorer in a foreign land, experiences that cannot be related through words.
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