With dance music gaining more of a presence on the charts and more play on many people’s CD players, rhythm rather than melody is supreme. Granted, much of it — from fey pop to dance crossovers — is soulless. It is mechanical, not just in the way it is produced, but also in the way it sounds.

Brian Eno once complained of “a lack of Africa” in music, referring to both the mechanization of the beat and also its boring simplicity. For Eno, Africa means something live, organic and polyrhythmic — attributes missing in much beat-based music.

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