Extra Golden, OK-Oyot System

Richard Gehr

By Richard Gehr

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

OK-Oyot System

Extra Golden
Two parts Afropop, two parts indie rock.

Ian Eagleson and Alex Minoff of DC-based Golden — a group responsible for such chunky instrumental tracks as "Records Is For Assholes," "The Quim Adjuster," and (sorry) "Cleveland Steamer" — have come a long way indeed. The best Afrobeat-indie rock meltdown I've ever heard, OK-Oyot System ("it's not easy" in Kenya's Luo language) achieves a scruffy perfection by its third (and title) track. That's when the borders dividing the wonderful singer-guitarist Otieno Jagwasi and drummer Onyano Wuod Omari, of the Nairobi-based benga group Orchestra Extra Solar Africa, and their American friends dissolve into music that bubbles as intensely as it broods. The album opens and closes with loping, dozen-minute tracks. In-between, the Golden boys prove themselves magnificent mopers on "It's Not Easy" and syrupy "Tussin and Fightin'," which they perform alone. By the time it's over, what may have begun as an academic exercise turns out to be an emotional elegy: Otieno died of HIV-related liver failure in 2005.