Komba, the highly assured third album from Portuguese-bred Afro-techno hybridizers Buraka Som Sistema, begins with a soft-spoken “Hallo? Hallo?” It’s a friendly gesture, and it’s smart, because this is the album that assures us that these guys are going to be around for a while. At Buraka’s root is the peppery Angolan kuduru style, rooted in Caribbean styles at base, and the rhythms are exciting while the track construction is consistently inventive. Li’l John, DJ Riot, Conductor, and Kalaf Ângelo give each track a ripe spaciousness in which very well defined instrumentation can cut through even the most unwelcome of listening conditions — the military snare and organ lick of the quick-stepping title track (featuring Kaysha), the gummy kick of “Voodoo Love” (with Sara Tavares and Terry Lynn). Komba is a completely accessible album, full of memorable refrains, exciting builds and canny structures. It’s also got one of the most bonkers rhythm bombs of 2011, “Hypnotized,” which puts a socafied twist on the skeletal dancehall psychedelia of Major Lazer’s “Pon de Floor,” then goes beyond it.
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