Vaudou Game

01/11/2018Peter Solo’s Latest Album “OTODI” Is Nothing Less Than Spellbinding

Late last week, Paris-based Hot Casa Records served up another burner as they unveiled the highly anticipated new album by potent French-Togolese afro-funk collective Vaudou Game, the brainchild of bandleader, singer and composer Peter Solo. Solo himself was born in Aného-Glidji, Togo, "the birthplace of the Guin tribe and a major site of the Voodoo culture". Meanwhile based in Lyon and backed by his band, he has channeled these ancient ritualistic sounds onto what is now his third album as Vaudou Game, entitled "OTODI". 

"OTODI" is the name of the former Togolese Recording Office, an abandoned yet fully functional recording studio in Lomé. "No one had been through those doors in years", the album bio reads. "Unchanged, seemingly untouched, just a guard watching over it. [...] Through thick layers of dust, the console was vibrating still, impatient to be turned on and spurt out the sound so unique to analog." The studio was closed in 1987, but reopened by Peter Solo and his crew earlier this year. And it is there that they recorded the 13 funk-heavy new tracks that now feature on the album. 

Vaudou Game had found the "space necessary to conjure the spirits of voodoo, those very spirits who watch over men and nature, and with whom Peter converses every day." As such, he was able to draw "the voodoo fluid directly from the source, once again using only Togolese scales to make his guitar sing, his strings acting as channels between listeners and deities." This time around he decided to entrust the rhythmic section to a Togolese bass and drum duo, "putting the groove in the expert hands of those, versed in feeling a type of musicianship that cannot be learned in any school." 

The album can be likened to a highly infectious ball of energy, enhanced by Roger Damawuzan’s James Brown type screams, a chorus of Togolese women or musical quotes from highlife and afrobeat. And, what's more, while referencing mystical, archaic rituals, "OTODI" remains absolutely modern in sound. In short, the entire affair is pulsating, trance-inducing and absolutely spellbinding. 

Preceding the album, Hot Casa dropped a 7" vinyl single containing the tracks "Tata Fatiguée" and "Anniversaire". You can listen to the latter in the live video below. As for the full album, you can stream/buy it on Bandcamp

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom