This quality compilation / retrospective – 180g, fine original artwork by Lea Morichon – comes care of new French label, Into The Deep Treasury. The reissue arm of Arthur Lastmann and Step Daw`s house / techno imprint, Into the Deep Records. Ogooué focuses on the work of West African musician, François N’Gwa, and collects recordings made between 1985 and 2004. Like much of the music that Ban Ban Ton Ton “champions” it fuses technology with tradition, and its more dance-able moments could have easily fueled Ibiza`s Balearic Beat.
The collection takes its name from the river that bisects François` homeland, Gabon. Its some 1,200K providing water for most of the country as it travels from Boumango, on the border of The Republic of Congo, to the coast, Port-Gentil, the Gulf of Guinea. Generating a landscape of rainforests and savannas as it goes. François` is still making music, dividing his time between the Gabon capital, Libreville, and his Parisian studio – which he christened N`Gomi & Ibogha Songs. The n`gomi being a local stringed instrument, while ibogha is the hallucinogenic “sacred wood” used in the healing ceremonies of Gabon`s indigenous, animistic, religion, Bwiti – rituals of the Mitsogho People, one of the country`s Bantu tribes, along with the Fang and the Meyene, whose history François` seeks to both preserve , update, and evolve. Splitting his songs between these languages and French – Gabon was under French rule until 1960 – and fusing the sound of the n`gomi, the balafon, and obala, with electronics.
Drum machines, bionic brass and bass synth-lines. Whistling key refrains. The compilation running forwards and backwards through François` catalogue. N’Dzegho strutting to a slow cosmic funk. The more uptempo Monguissono, with its sharp guitar lick, edging into the same territory as Grace Jones & The Compass Point All-Stars take on new wave. Bill Laswell / Celluloid`s New Africa. N’Kene could be a chilled vamp on Angelique Kidjo`s classic, Batonga. Bubbling gently before hitting a sax serenade. On Idiengue sampled Sub-Saharan showers fall between carefully picked acoustic notes. The drum workout of Trance, pulls on Tom Waits` Troubles Braids. It`s a chase that ends in the choral calm of Eliwa – François` 1985 debut single.
You can pre-order a copy of François N’Gwa`s Ogooué directly from Into The Deep Treasury.