Franck Biyong-The Afrovision Secret | Funkmaster General
Franck Biyong has taken no ordinary path. He has been on the forefront of “Afroelectric”, a genre that is a mixture of Afrobeat, jazz and funk sounds. He has been a busy man, releasing several songs and Eps since he has started this journey. The latest milestone is his new album, The Afrovision Secret. It is a delightful potluck of groovy dance, disco and funk music delivered in Biyong’s signature style. Let’s dive in.
Sliding into the dance floor with Pata Piya, Biyong composes a funky dance number that layers different Afrobeat instruments together with the joy of funk. In doing so, we hear a mixture of genres that carry many similarities, yet have never been tied together like this. The saxophone and flute flourishes stand out especially, making it a great dance number.
Nights in Zeralda makes use of some disco/afrobeat number sound with accents and highlights that are fun to hear. It is truly a playground in your ear. Synths take over sometimes, whilst Biyong’s guitar takes center stage with a strange, ominous sound. Changing character ever so often, each instrument gets a chance to shine in this simple yet sumptuous number.
Polysonik truly opens another chapter to experimentation. Biyong adds another R&B layer to something he is comfortable with. An unexpected number of swishes, swirls and additions make it a catchy, groovy song with plenty of dance and comradery between the instruments. It moves to a disco sound a makes a flamboyant return with great passion.
Now we’re talking. Drastically upping the tempo with this dance number, AlokoParty, Franck Biyong lets his magic fingers fly and do the talking to make this composition. The disco beat holds a steady ground in the background. The funk guitar is a companion as well, as the sax riff is laser engraved to your ears, begging for me. Biyong constantly tries to change the tone in the song, though it stays in the same ballpark. The synth solo is something of a specialty in this track, a fun number to watch them jam to I’m sure.
Sounding like Planet Caravan by Sabbath, Franck Biyong dives into the sounds of nature with Gandoura. Using the minimal space for some beautiful instrumental impromptu playing with a piano, Biyong assits with some clean guitar work, almost psychedelic in many ways. A very simple, well composed, and well-placed track for the album.
Bush combines the jungle beat that has been popularized so, but with some surreal touches. It creates a superb environment for an instrument jam, and that is what transpires, in certain ways. The bassline sticks out with its simple rendition, while the saxophones share the spotlight with the flute and synth. Creative and energetic track after a slow number. A playlist made for every moment. The EDM style synths have also been used very well for a different effect.
Gentlemen De Camp Yabassi is where Franck Biyong grasps more control, with his guitar having a smooth sliding sound, the riffs clear and directed. The other instruments assist with their plain groove, occasionally providing harmonies to his guitar work that holds us down for the entirety of the song.
Negropolitaines trades in the afrobeat with some great jazz bass and synth improvisation in the opening sequence, as the wind instruments come in, stealing the show. They all create a cosmic dance worth witnessing. The funk is strong with this song, while the improvisation makes it a number worth listening to again and again. Sounds like War playing, if they combined all these wonderful genres together.
Pepe Soup is once again, a dance number. You always want to end an album on a high. That is precisely what Franck Biyong does. It is like a Broadway number, if they entertained diversity. The percussions go crazy for this one, Biyong smartly staying in the shadows but sometimes sharing the light. It is a crazy close to a great album, where Biyong is not only playing ringmaster, but also the lion leaping through the flames. Each instrument is highlighted, and all get a chance to call a song theirs.
Franck Biyong has not only pioneered this genre, but made it an engrossing experiment to listen to. Now excuse me, as I dance to this album and rewind into the great discography of this talented artist.