Featuring members of Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, The Calm Blue Sea, Ocote Soul Sounds, Spanish Gold, the Echocentrics, and several other acts, Hard Proof is a critically applauded and award-winning Austin, TX-based ten member collective known as the first – and currently only – band playing African funk throughout the entire state of Texas. And unlike most contemporary acts playing African inspired music and focus primarily on Afrobeat, Hard Proof’s music is heavily inspired by the variety of genres that are popular in Sub-Saharan Africa, which gives their sound an incredible level of nuance.
In honor of the second annual Cassette Store Day, the Austin, TX-based collective released a cassingle titled “Soul Thing/Lake Tana.” The second single – should I say B side? – “Lake Tana” was written by Jason Frey (tenor sax) was inspired by their show’s infectious, upbeat vibe and a love of Mulatu Astatke’s music. And the title is taken from Ethiopia’s largest lake which feeds into the Blue Nile.
As for the single itself, “Lake Tana” sounds dimly familiar if you listen to Afrobeat – the percussive track begins with tight yet explosive blasts of horns, wah wah-pedaled guitar and turns into a psychedelic freakout around the 3:30 mark. And it does so while being incredibly funky. As you’re listening to it, check out the both the incredible nuance to the song and the level of control – everything feels and sounds deliberately placed, as though every note had a very specific location.