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The 10 best albums of February 2023

Every month, PAM browses the pan-African scenes to offer a selection of ten fresh releases. This February, we're vibing to Spinall's compilation, exploring hybrid electronic music with Acid Arab, celebrating the life of AKA and more.

Abri Cyclonique

Polobi & the Gwo Ka Masters

The mystic, the great Polobi feels all the vibrations of the forest: the sound of leaves swaying in the wind, the trickling of a river, the chirping of birds. Moïse Polobi sees everything, hears everything and transforms his senses into musical instruments. His gwoka (which he plays accompanied by his musicians, gathered under the name of Gwo Ka Masters) carries the elements of his native Guadeloupe, and his voice echoes that of his people whose history is intimately linked to this musical genre born in the 17th century, after the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the Caribbeans. This opus recorded in collaboration with the French-Irish producer Doctor L reveals a deep and detailed universe, between Creole rhythms, acoustic takes and electronic arrangements. From the purest tracks like “Neg Africa” to the grooviest “Ojéliya”, Abri Cyclonique reveals the diversity, richness and beauty of gwo-ka.

Listen here.

Borga Revolution! 2

Various Artists

8 months after the 1st volume, Kalita records sends a new salvo of burger-highlife, a musical genre from Ghanaian musicians who emigrated in Europe at the end of the 80s. Producing in Germany made new technologies accessible and affordable for these artists, who quickly took advantage of it and jumped into the digital era with both feet. Soon enough, from the beginning of the 80s and until the middle of the 90s, a furious mixture of highlife melodies, synthesizers and boogie took the Ghanaian airwaves by storm. Alongside these 11 tracks, we find three tracks by Alan Cosmos from the 1985 album “Sunshine Music For Your Pleasure, considered by its author as the first West African record entirely made with electronic instruments!

Listen here.



After his first opus “Hlib El Ghoula”, electronic label Shouka Records’ top producer Ghoula is back with Demi-écrémé. At the time of the release of the single “Jougar”, the Tunisian producer recounted for PAM the birth of the track. “Jougar is the name of a village in the mountains of Tunisia, in the governorate of Zaghouan. In fact, I was looking to record women’s voices and forgotten songs, and I met three singers there that I recorded.” His way of approaching sound – through voices taken from chance encounters, field  recordings or even covers from a collection of vinyl enriched by his travels – makes the eight tracks of this new album authentic and fascinating. From the first track “Asslama” to the conclusion “Boussni”, Ghoula explores the art of sampling, on sounds that are traditional, techno, groovy and house all at once.

Listen here.



Mysterious and almost impossible to find outside Soundcloud and other streaming platforms, Lokowat regularly appears in the setlists played by our favorite DJs in our PAM Club. However, the Portuguese producer remains an enigma, and his music is the only way to decipher him, even a little bit. One thing is for sure, Lokowat is a student of Afro-house, kuduro and the many branches of electro. Since 2020, he has been very prolific, delivering 5 EPs, in the same vein as this new opus, entitled Elementos. This album in 15 tracks is a concentrate of these influences, tagged “Loko”. From the intro, the tone is given. “Chama” lights the fuse and the following tracks oscillate between palpable tension (thanks to the synthetic violin of “Vento de Leste”) and frenzied rhythms (like on the well-named “Ritmo Doido”).

Listen here.


Nairobi Ableton User Community & KMRU

Led by the collaborative community at Nairobi Ableton User Group and Kenyan ambient virtuoso KMRU, the “INSHA” compilation explores the many layers of Kenya’s foundations. Generous in knowledge and collaborations, KMRU had already compiled the Place: Nairobi LP in 2021, as well as the second volume of the Open Space series, as PAM reported in 2022. This time around, the guest artists are contributing to a unique project with intimate pieces of work. While some are tackling sentiments of culture loss through colonization, and the need for escapism, others embrace themes of self-expression, tradition, and music as self-therapy. INSHA gathers 14 artists from the Kenyan ambient and electronic scene, including Nyokabi Kariũki, Manch!ld, Avom, Kimina, Snse, M³, and Munyasya.

Listen here.

Mass Country


Released posthumously two weeks after his assassination, Mass Country is AKA’s final contribution to South Africa’s rap legacy. Born in Cape Town and raised in Johannesburg, Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, or AKA, had already been on the national scene for over a decade. In 2011, his album Altar Ego was extremely well-received by critics and audiences alike, making him one of the country’s hottest artists. Subsequent projects, such as the 2018 album Touch My Blood or the 2020 EP Bhovamania, have made him a huge name both in South Africa and internationally. Beyond his lyrics and beats, which he largely produced, AKA distinguished himself with a unique style and well thought-out collaborations. Mass Country is the proof, with 15 collaborations for 14 tracks, including Gyakie, Musa Keys and Nasty C on the sunny singles “Paradise” and “Lemons (Lemonade)”.AKA leaves behind a great legacy, and a big void for his fans and South African rap.

Listen here.



Celestial, futuristic, divine, … Undescribable. In 2017, Kelela offered us the brilliant  Take Me Apart, a hybrid and alternative masterpiece just like her alien and hypnotic universe. Five years later, the American singer is finally back with a high-quality album, still carried by a voice with an airy grace, a captivating aura and timeless sound. The first single – and introduction of the project – “Washed Away” gave little clue about the content of this new opus, entitled Raven. One thing is sure, Kelela did not disappoint. Helped by renowned producers such as LSDXOXO, Bambii, Yo van Lenz or Kaytranada ( “On The Run”), Kelela unveils a magnificent palette of 15 tracks with rnb, drum’n’bass, jungle, ambient and electro colors. The album includes one featuring with New Jersey talent Rahrah Gabor on  “Closure”. 

Listen here.

Top Boy


The Top Boy himself Spinall is back with a new compilation, following the same winning formula as his previous releases, including Grace in 2020. In this latest installment, the Nigerian producer, Dj and songwriter delivers 15 flowy, summer-ready tracks, guest-starring the hottest acts on both the Naija and international scene. Of course, the hit single “Palazzo” features the neo-fuji wizard Asake but the Top Boy album also offers a great overview of the current Afro (and Carribean) scene. Veterans like Ladipoe and Olamide excell in their confort zones ( Ladipoe on the soft « Outside » and Olamide on the cheeky « Bunda »), and newcomers like the “Wo Wo” singer Minz and the British songstress Tamera deliver quality verses on “Everyday” and “Honest”. 

Listen here.

٣ (Trois)

Acid Arab

Ten tracks, eight guests, five masterminds, and a third album. Five years after their second opus Jdid, the French-Algerian quinquette Acid Arab delivers ٣ (Trois). Recorded between Paris, Constantine and Istanbul, this hypnotic electro-oriental project oscillates between trance, Syrian dabkeh and rai with robotic accents. ٣ (Trois) is sublimated by collaborations with exceptional North African, Syrian and Turkish artists: Rachid Taha on the song “Rachid Trip”, Cem Yıldız on retro track “Döne Döne”, or Sofiane Saidi on the electro-raï intro “Leila”. For Acid Arab, the recipe remains the same: always change it. The group explained its approach in an interview with PAM: “our goal is to enrich what we do, to participate in this exchange that we’re defending. We have recurring guests, like Sofiane Saïdi, who are now part of the Acid Arab family, and it’s a pleasure to work with him, and then we also invite new voices, based on our feelings of the moment and our encounters” .

Listen here.

Work Hard

King Ayisoba

Born Albert Apoosore, King Ayisoba is known to be a pioneer of mainstream traditional music in Ghana. Making his entrance into the music industry in the early 2000’s, he grabbed the attention of most Ghanaians, especially those living in modern cities both in and outside Ghana, with his sharp voice and live performances with his favorite kologo instrument. Ayisoba started recording his latest album “Work Hard” in the Netherlands, but upon returning to Ghana as Covid hit, he was looking for ways to keep inspired and to keep working. Growing up in the hinterlands without basic school education, he has always believed in working hard so being idle was new to him. Although he couldn’t go out to work, he would rather Work Hard on his music and his album.

Listen here.