Cue up â€œSoul Vibrations,â€ the first track on Dorothy Ashbyâ€™s Afro-Harping, and revel: a one-note syncopated bassline over a slamming drumbeat that youâ€™re sure youâ€™ve heard sampled somewhere. Enter the double-tracked theremins, followed by swoopy strings. Next, over the relentless beat, an echo-plexed harp solo by Ashby, during which the strings return with 16-notes; then the theremins run the groove into a fade-out. And there you have it: 3â€™15â€™â€™ of pure aural time capsule in all its mod glory.
Afro-Harping was arranged by producer Richard Evans and recorded by Ashby with unknown musicians for Cadet Records in 1968. An unbeatable groove-heavy slice of late-’60s lounge. Actually, there are two styles on the album: a heavy funk, psychedelic groove showcased on the two side-openers, â€œSoul Vibrationsâ€ and â€œAfro-Harpingâ€; and a genial, insinuating pop-jazz feel with more extensive displays of harp prowess. ~ Joshua Weiner