LP released: Nov 24, 2023

1. Megaton 5:01
2. Renegade 5:05
3. Facade 3:18
4. Chabati 3:11
5. Green Hell 6:41
6. Boss 3:55
7. Nsambei 4:00
8. Waboco 3:29
9. Cult 4:37
10. Ngoma-ku 7:04

Vecchio's Afro-Rock is one big horn-heavy, bass-blasting, Latin groove funk-rock
party. Only now, you're all invited because this, ladies and gentleman, is
officially...a grail no more. With copies currently starting at 400 Euros for an
original, this beautifully presented reissue, part of Be With's fresh campaign
with Music De Wolfe, is well overdue. A magnificent and somewhat obscure library
set that's just a total, cohesive joy from start to finish, this here is the
soundtrack to all your smokin' summer BBQs and communal cookouts.
Afro-Rock is the debut album by Argentine keyboardist Luis Vecchio. Recorded for
the sound library label De Wolfe, the album is frequently mentioned in hushed
reverence among the beat digger DJ collecting crowd. It features fiery brass
charts, funky bass lines, fluttering flute, choppy organ and additional hand
tribal percussion. The band let loose too and jam hard; yet there's a certain
thread of solidity that runs throughout, the tracks just belong together, not
disparate sound and rhythm experiments like some library records; this is just
straight up, no messin', consistent funk-rock FIRE! Hips will sway, heads will
nod to the steady vibes. It's insanely good.
The humid, building funk of the appropriately titled "Megaton" is a dramatic
explosion of swirling, dazzling organ lines, ferocious beats and heavy horns
throughout. It just don't stop. The tempo slows slightly for the deep and deeply
addictive "Renegade". It's all heavy jazz horn refrains, always triumphant,
coupled with devastating percussive breakdowns and killer guitar riffing. It's
an insistent organ-led juggernaut. The frenetic "Facade", up next, is no less
driving, horns high up in the mix over rattling percussion and brilliant organs
lines. Just sensational. The bright "Chabati" is another glorious extension of
the optimistic Vecchio sound, the organs wilder than ever before. The moody
"Green Hell" is a real highlight and closes out the A-Side with some
outrageously funky refrains - be it horns, organ or guitars - and is
complimented by gorgeous flute work that galvanises the piece, elevating it to
downright heavenly status.
Knowing full well that he's on to a surefire thing, Vecchio opens the flipside
in much the same vein. Indeed, "Boss" is yet another uptempo highlight, a
sensual orgy of proud horns, hand percussion and melodic flute playing over
driving organ and guitars. It's followed by "Nsambei", which is rightly adored
for its briefly open drum break, fantastically propulsive percussion breakdowns
throughout and the jazzy, loose organ and guitar shreds. The bright "Waboco" ups
the tempo and the pressure, hanging on one hell of a guitar hook and infectious
horn refrain. Perhaps foreseeing how this album would come to be viewed, the
aptly-titled "Cult" is possibly the finest song on the record. Which is saying
something, because this record is insanely good. Riding a steady, confident
organ groove straight out the gate, the kinda melancholic flute line over the
top serves as a beautiful counterpoint which the horns often come in and
imitate/riff off. Goddamn this is so so good, it needs to be played everywhere.
The overwhelmingly mighty 7-minute jam "Ngoma-ku" rounds out this quite
staggering record brilliantly in its heavy, mid-tempo blues with countless
extended solos.
The audio for Afro Rock has been meticulously remastered by Be With regular
Simon Francis, ensuring this release sounds better than ever. Cicely Balston's
expert skills have made sure nothing is lost in the cut whilst the records have
been pressed to the highest possible standard at Record Industry in Holland. The
original, iconic sleeve has been restored here at Be With HQ as the finishing
touch to this long overdue re-issue.