Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Release of the Day: Billy Bao - Lagos Sessions

Conceptually staggering, Lagos Sessions, the newest opus from San Francisco provocateurs Billy Bao, is as massive as it is nuanced. Recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, home to the band’s vocalist and namesake, alongside a diverse cast of musicians, improvisers, and artists, Lagos Sessions presents the band at its most expansive and personal. Both digitally and physically, the new album is two LPs split into four sides, each lasting about fifteen minutes. At once monolithic and fractured, the four pieces capture the schizophrenic nature of being a displaced person trying to find something – anything – stable and comforting that, even if not a literal home, can at least have a home’s trappings.

Lagos Sessions is hard to even call an album. Oh, it’s certainly a record – two, in fact! But the term “album” makes it seem like a collection of songs, rather than a piece of auditory art. Where “album” is an appropriate signifier, and visual analog, for plenty of records, it doesn’t do justice to Lagos Sessions, which has more similarities in common with a megalithic painting than a series of laminated inserts in a binder.

It’s an exhilarating listen, sonically and thematically. Littered with field recordings, improvised jazz, noise, punk, and soul, Lagos Sessions is an exercise in amalgamation and collage. The frequent changes in tone, tempo, and texture are disorienting, at least at first, but eventually make themselves at home. For instance, side B begins with what most closely resembles a noise rock song before descending into a prolonged monologue on what it means to be Nigerian in 2015/2016. Abrasive sound makes way for education. Easy listening, this ain’t. Rewarding, necessary listening, this is.

Here's an example of the recording sessions. I couldn't find any of the music online other than this:


  1. This was a really interesting interview and i enjoyed going through it. Thanks for sharing it with us and it was educational also. Would like to hear more from you.

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