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Secret Agent by Tony Allen

Secret Agent

by Tony Allen


Only 1 left in stock

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Barcode: 4050538752601
Format: Vinyl
Media: Mint (M)
Sleeve: Mint (M)

Only 1 left in stock

The front sticker on Tony Allen’s latest album conveys high praise, with quotes from Brian Eno calling him “perhaps the greatest drummer ever” and Fela Kuti stating, “Without Tony Allen, there’d be no Afrobeat.” The album, titled “Secret Agent,” is described as “another one from the underground sensation.” Despite the acknowledgment, the label “underground sensation” is seen as somewhat limiting, encapsulating Allen’s career that, despite its brilliance, hasn’t achieved widespread recognition. Allen, a pivotal figure in Afrobeat, has a rich musical history spanning over 40 years, from his groundbreaking work with Fela Kuti to his solo career and collaborations like Damon Albarn’s the Good, the Bad & the Queen project.

The term “underground sensation” both encapsulates and understates the essence of “Secret Agent.” Allen’s distinctive talent lies in his ability to subtly influence the rhythm, remaining just behind the beat, shaping the music without drawing excessive attention to himself. This characteristic is evident even in his solo work, where the focus often shifts to the individual components of the music, such as backing brass, Claude Dibongue’s jazzy guitar, or Rody Cereyon’s funky bass. Guest vocalists, including Orobiyi Adunni, contribute to tracks like “Ijo” and “Ayenlo,” where Allen’s lead vocals shine on the title track and the closing piece, “Elewon Po.” Allen’s drumming, while sometimes subdued, acts as the structural backbone, with cymbal pings, rolls, and ghost strokes subtly holding the composition together.

“Secret Agent” may not showcase Afrobeat at its most intense, but it signifies a late-career high for Allen, approaching 70. The album exudes a mellow vibe, demonstrated in the rhythmic nuances of tracks like “Busybody” and the surprisingly assertive “Pariwo,” despite its gentle accordion-led pace. Allen, in his characteristic style, doesn’t boast or swagger; he waits for the listener to come to him, confident and composed.

A1 Secret Agent
A2 Ijo
A3 Switch
B1 Celebrate
B2 Ayenlo
B3 Busybody
C1 Pariwo
C2 Nina Lowo
C3 Atuwaba
D1 Alutere
D2 Elewon Po
Catalogue No.: WCV082R
Barcode: 4050538752601
Genre: Funk / Soul
Style: Afrobeat
Label: World Circuit
Released: 2022
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Remastered, 180g

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