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There isn't much biographical information available on Africanus Okokon. According to the press release for his debut album Turkson Side, he's a visual artist who specializes in collage, video, and animation who has designed site graphics and a number of album covers for Other People, the label founded by Nicolas Jaar on which he is now also a recording artist. Turkson Side is an intriguing collection of nine cuts that make up 43 minutes worth of almost entirely sample-based music made largely with simple custom-made playback software, and were recorded in one take with almost no editing with the exception of 'Wrake', a rare moment pure beauty featuring Okokon playing an Ethiopian krar inside his house. Though freeform in nature and sometimes giving the impression that everything has been haphazardly stitched together, there's an almost underlying sense of structured chaos to what Okokon is doing here, with opener 'Asphalt' standing as the best example of his technique.

A playfully disorienting "minimovement", it spends its nearly 15-minute running time roaming through disparate samples of gibberish spoken word, tropical passages, alien broadcasts, squelching farts, and bits of skeletal dance and soul music. The transitions are often abrupt, and he never really attempts to blur the lines between anything that he splices together. But he has an eye for minuscule details that helps prevent it from feeling completely shambolic. It's the lengthiest piece here and the most ingenious and inventive. Because of that, the more singular pieces that follow pale a little in its shadow, never quite capturing the same imaginative and playful spirit. It's tempting in a way to wish that 'Asphalt' would have been stretched out into a 30-minute multi-suite and functioned as the lone album track, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the eight remaining pieces that make up Turkson Side are filler either.

'Perspiration' is probably the album's most unsettling song where fragments of dialogue, a ringing telephone, and somber religious chants disrupt its otherwise eerie drone. 'Contelast' runs a close second, starting off on a deceptively sweet note with twinkling loops and a slightly tweaked Britney Spears vocal sample from 'Breaking the Ice', giving the impression of a slight avant reworking of a saccharine pop song before quickly shifting into something a little more ominous with hollow percussion and creeping b-movie synths creating a moody atmosphere. 'Flipcam' pairs fragments of warped dialogue and soulful female harmonies with what sounds like liquid steel drum patterns over a stuttering beat while 'Soft' samples a chuckle-worthy conversation about stink bombs and plastic bags. Though both are enjoyable (and humorous) enough, neither one really builds into anything particularly memorable.

For those who are into sound collages, tape loops, or musique concrète, Turkson Side should have no problem in satisfying your curiosity. But for those who find it difficult getting into this kind of music, it isn't likely going to be your entry point. It's not that anything here is so experimental that it's off-putting so much that it has to do with how Okokon approaches the album format that can make it a little difficult to grasp. Break it down to its essence and what you basically have are 43 minutes-worth of Okokon experimenting with filtering his artistic abilities through a musical medium in real time. The ambitious nature of the project alone makes for a fascinating listen, but the inconsistencies that occasionally plague it, as well as its academic leanings, makes Turkson Side equally frustrating as well.

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