Picks and Pans Review: Mr. Manager

updated 04/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Zazou-Bikaye

Ahh, just when you fear that mind and body are doomed to oppose each other like church and state, along comes a record that liberates the corpus at the same time it captivates the cortex. Mr. Freud, meet Zazou-Bikaye: a couple of cultural cross-pollinators making irresistible dance music from the unexpected outpost of Paris. The nucleus of the band (nine members on this LP) is Hector Zazou, an Algerian composer and synthesizer whiz, and Bony Bikaye, a mellifluous singer from Zaire. Their extremely seductive music flows on multiple layers of rhythm and imaginatively shifting sound textures. The effect may be caressing, as in Soki Akei; nudging and bright, with a feel reminiscent of American funk, as in Angel; or reggae-like, as in the title cut. Whichever, a far from token melody, sung in French or African dialects, will be woven through the length of the song. In the case of Soki Akei, the melody shared by Bikaye and the band's three female backup singers conveys a complicated mixture of sadness, yearning and spiritual deliverance. Some cuts will put American listeners in mind of Talking Heads circa Remain in Light and Speaking in Tongues. What the comparison leaves you with is a sense of the irony and the artiness in the Heads' music and an appreciation for the unstudied way Zazou-Bikaye on this record sets the brain and the body working together. (Pow Wow, 1619 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10019)

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