Two collector-favourite titles come back into print in highly-commendable form
Martin Leitch
10:00 27th November 2021

Ghanaian highlife innovator Atakora Manu issued a string of LP's during the '80s that are today held in reverential terms by both the genre's enthusiasts and the collector base who've long sought to track down Manu's scarce original vinyl pressings. There's good reason for this; both Omintiminim and Afro Highlife—the two full-length LPs combined here to form a single two disc release—are classics of their style, rich in the fluid rhythms, affecting melodies and heartfelt vocals that served as some of Manu's most distinctive creative traits.

It's no wonder, then, that Britain's BBE Records—an outfit well-versed in the matter of reissuing high-quality rarities from an international musical past—have opted to release Manu's work anew, thereby presenting it to an audience who may, in part, not yet be familiar with this respected artist's catalogue.

Though BBE usually issue CD editions of their titles alongside their vinyl releases, it's the latter format for which they're best-known—so it should be of little surprise that they truly know how to produce an exceptionally high-quality listen. Those decades of experience are born out in their rerelease of these two Atakora Manu LPs, as the records themselves—two gorgeously-manufactured discs of heavyweight black vinyl—have been created to the highest standards by Germany's Pallas, a pressing plant who have perhaps the best track record of all currently-active vinyl manufacturers. Their output tends to be of practically faultless quality and that is certainly true in the case of our copy of this particular release; the records sit flat and warp-free on the platter, boasting the kind of lustrous sheens that can all-too-often be absent even from records straight off the presses.

Better yet, the audio itself is exceptional; the noise floor is whisper-quiet in the case of our example and the surfaces are likewise free of any audible noise, allowing the listener to revel in Manu's excellent, long-form compositions in uninterrupted form. The mastering is also impressive, boasting crisp audio with a substantial low-end, impactful vocals, snappy drums and rhythm guitars that positively pop out of the mix.

Packaged in a striking gatefold sleeve, BBE once again display their ample experience in the business of reissuing scarce vintage LPs through their consummate presentation of this particular release. The front cover art for both Omintiminim and Afro Highlife are present, with one being printed on the front cover of this reissue and the other on the back. In addition to this, highly informative liner notes have been printed onto the inner gatefold spread, lending this reissue a welcome context that those new to Manu's work will doubtless appreciate.

Classily presented and manufactured to exceptional standards, BBE's two-in-one reissue of Omintiminim and Afro Highlife brings two collector-favourite titles back into print in highly-commendable form. 


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Photo: Press