Behind a seminal scene there’s often a super producer, a sound shifter who gets the credit listing but sometimes not the credit. Now Soundway Records are set to introduce another member of this illusive club, Nkono Teles, keyboardist and arranger, a man at the epicentre of Nigeria’s electro pop explosion in the eighties. On 24th March the London label will release Love Vibration, a collection of key cuts from Teles own solo output which promises to hustle with the best.
From his home in Cameroon to Nigeria, from Tony Allen’s first post Fela band to leading afro-funkster Steve ‘Dudu’ Black’s group, Nkono really began to shake things up as the seventies drew to a close. Taking Black’s advice he immersed himself in the incoming slick sounds of Cameo and the Crusaders, headed onto Lagos and began to fashion the Nkono Teles sound.
Attributed as one of the key drum machine beatmakers at the time, who blended these new crisp rhythms with snappy guitars and Roland synth bite, his unique disco boogie style was in high demand. What followed was an impressive rosta of Teles produced dance floor smashes from Peter Abdul to Rick Asikpo and onto Steve Monite’s touchstone boogie release ‘Only You’. Plus there were three fine solo albums from Teles himself, all injected with his distinct synth sparkle and afro-pop dancefloor sensibility.
Catch up with the preview track Midnight Street Special from the storming ‘Love Vibration‘ compilation and you immediately get connected. It’s a tight focused, super stretched instrumental groove, part mid-funk strut part disco shoulder roll, held down by rubber band bass lines and tensed up by some sharp synth chops. But it’s the Teles touch that brings the magic, the subtle afrobeat percussion, the playful lo/sci-fi effects and a meteoric Roland shredding solo. It’s definitely time to make time for Nkono Teles.
Pre-order your copy of ‘Love Vibration’ by Nkono Teles from Soundway records at Bandcamp