Ex-Centric Sound System

Afro Riddim Sessions Vol. 1

The chicken-like picture on the cover of Ex-Centric Sound System’s newest CD, Afro Riddim Sessions Vol. 1, represents the ancient Ghanaian symbol for sankofa, which translates as “looking backward in order to move forward.” The phrase is key to the Ex-Centric sound, which explores the common thread of black music throughout the world: past, present and future. Producer, bassist and sampler Yossi Fine (who toured with John Scofield, Lou Reed, Ruben Blades and Me’shell Ndegeocello before founding ESS), along with percussionist Prince Nana Dadzie and drummer Michael Avgil, are joined by a sizable supporting crew. The group also backs up such currently popular Jamaican-music artists as Kulcha Knox, Doniki and Lisa Denja on this highly danceable, dancehall-meets-roots-reggae disc. Knox’s “Things That You Do” (“Things that you do / Let it be true … ”), with its heavy, electronic groove overlaid with hand percussion and sweet reggae vocals, and his guilelessly bad-ass “Put on the Dancing Shoe” are the standouts on this standout album.