Essentials: Mainland Block Party's Confluence Project
The seven-track eclectic project filled with collaborations from Joeboy, Ladipoe, Alpha P and more.
A confluence is a point where two or more streams unify to become a larger body of water. The aptly titled project attempts to do exactly that with its fragmented approach, connecting artists from separate eras with a variety of styles and techniques on display. Brought to fruition by two brands with a history of collaborating, Confluence Project is the result of five days of intense recording, mixing and shooting, but the project itself serves to highlight the history of Nigeria, through music, art and concise referencing.
Tobi Mohammed (aka Alhaji Popping), the project’s executive producer, provided some necessary subtext about its origination and execution. “As the Block Party, we curated the musical experience for Jameson Connect – their flagship Independence Day event. Instead of regular performances, we decided to shake things up and give the event twist this time. The event happens every Independence Day and since that is a notable day for Nigerians we started to hover around the idea of music being the connector between us, reminding everyone that regardless of background or other potential disparities, we are essentially the same. The theme for the event last year was about a confluence and we ran with that,” he shares.
Essentially, the project consists of various fragments joined together to create a whole, with an array of talented artists collaborating on each of the records. Regarding the selection process behind this Frankenstein-esque approach, Tobi shared with B.Side: “We went this route because sonically it was very important to find the right talents who could also be readily available to work within the idea we had in mind. Shout out to Sess and Adey for banging this out in less than a week as well, we had about four days from start to finish to get the project done and none of this would be possible without them. Finding the perfect balance between older and newer artists, genres and styles allowed us to showcase the diversity within the country, across multiple periods and communities.”
The music that makes up this mosaic of an album is delivered by a colourful gang of collaborators hailing from multiple eras and disciplines. The newest comers, Alpha P and Boj, are ironically tasked with the responsibility of providing a befitting intro to this one-of-a-kind project. The resulting mash-up of their respective hit records, “Paloma” and “Mind Games” does the assignment justice. The same format is employed throughout the album albeit with varied success; this is especially noticeable on the Boj and Fave cuts: “Tungba with Nbu'' and “Your Dal”.
Possibly the most surprising duo on the project, Naeto C and Joeboy introduce their union with a refix of Naeto C's "5 & 6" ("My Baby, My 5 & 6") the timeless lead single from his 2011 album, Super C Season and possibly one of the biggest pop songs from the continent in recent history. The duo’s second attempt on the project, "Tony Montana Likes Faaji", finds them developing their unlikely chemistry further, refitting their hooks for a different approach.
Beats from Adey and Sess help recreate a fresh sense of balance for the older records versus the newer ones as well as providing the opportunity to hear some improbable mash-ups. The Terry Apala and Ladipoe collaboration, “Down To Jangolova”, works the best for many reasons as the juxtaposition of their vocal textures provides the most satisfying effort on the project with its edge. Their grittier album outro, “Champagne Already”, feels like a full-fledged remix to Terry Apala’s "Champagne Showers" with him and LADIPOE trading their best bars back and forth.
As a whole, Confluence Project sounds like a throwaway Major Lazer remix pack, chock full of alternative renditions and surprising new progressions on familiar records. While not bound to insanely high standards due to the commercially prevalent purpose of the project, it manages to provide an unfamiliar but exciting format with a platform in this part of the world.
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