Last year Mo Kolours released his debut EP, Drum Talking, a fascinating record loosely based on sega, the music of Mo’s ancestral home, Mauritius. It fused English electronica and hip-hop with African percussion and rhythms and it was pretty damn good. Almost a full year later Mo has finally dropped the next instalment in his planned trilogy of EPs: Banana Wine, another intoxicating brew of rhythms, styles and tunes.
If you were a fan of the first EP, you’ll be pleased to hear that sega still flavors its successor, but only in the freedom it grants Mo to move in whichever direction the wind blows him. Banana Wine is the sound of Mo Kolours expanding his horizons and moving further towards the influences he previously hinted at. It’s dub, it’s dubstep, it’s house, it’s reggae, it’s hip-hop; it’s all of these and it’s none of these. Beats, lyrics and sounds drift in out of Banana Wine to leave you wondering what on earth on you’ve just spent the last twenty five minutes listening to.
Well, when it’s as good as most of Banana Wine is, it doesn’t really matter. There’s not one track here that you can pigeonhole: “Ridda Mountain” is a bit dubby, “Mini Culcha” is a bit housey, “Talking Move” is a bit funky, but they’re all more than a bit brilliant and brimming over with more creative brio than you could shake a rhythm stick at.
Even the simplest track, “Keep It Up”--based around a loop, handclaps and a sample--has so much going on (including an amusing litany of all the people bugging Mo to turn his music down) that you’ll unearth new depths on every listen. And the deeper you get lured into Banana Wine, the trippier it gets. By the time the title tracks rolls in, the fact that Mo makes a beat out of the word banana (ba-na-na), amid a hypnotic backdrop of bells, handclaps and god knows what else, comes as no surprise. That’s just how he rolls.
There aren’t many people out there making stuff as rich and inventive as Mo Kolours at the moment, and it’s a pleasure to see him delivering on the promise of his debut. Last time around I suggested that Talking Drum was the sound of avant-garde music in 2011. Well, if there’s any justice, Banana Wine should make a real impact in 2012. His label are doing their part to get him out there by making Banana Wine available for free, so all you need to do to get acquainted with the Mauritian magician is get your download on. “Me drink it up!”