B0009062-2 The Rhythmatist
Produced by Stewart Copeland and Jeff Sietz
Released on May 1985
Find it at GEMM
B0009062-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 3.0: KLARK KENT IN THE KONGO. After seeing Stewart Copeland’s giant microphone on the front cover, with which he presumably recorded African tribes, animals and insects, I was expecting either forty minutes of dry-as-goatskin drum music or Highlife in the Bush of Ghosts. Instead, The Rhythmatist isn’t far removed from the African pop music that was always at the core of Klark Kent and Police songs like “Miss Gradenko” and “Driven To Tears.” The difference this time is that Copeland isn’t appropriating African pop music for his own designs, but insinuating himself into it. Copeland wisely engaged the services of vocalist Ray Lema, who wrote or cowrote three songs on here, including the opening “Koteja (Oh Bolilla),” arguably the best track on the album. In some ways, The Rhythmatist anticipates Paul Simon’s Graceland, though it’s unlikely Simon himself ever heard the album; rather, the two albums reflect a growing interest in African pop music in the West. Those expecting The Rhythmatist to be Copeland’s definitive drum statement will be disappointed, save for maybe “Serengeti Long Walk,” which features his typically propulsive drumming and even a brief drum solo. Otherwise, Copeland’s drumming takes a backseat to his skills as a composer. You’ll hear the soundtrack artist at work on songs like “Samburu Sunset” and “Coco.” Although the adventures of Klark Kent are a better bet to please the pure pop fans of The Police, The Rhythmatist is an interesting offshoot of that music into Africa. Most of the songs have lyrics (Stewart himself sings on the last two tracks, borrowing the narrative style of Stanard Ridgway), making it more fun than those Andy Summers instrumental records at any rate.


  1. KOTEJA (OH BOLILLA)    (Ray Lema)    3:32
  2. BRAZZAVILLE    4:11
  3. LIBERTÉ    (Ray Lema)    4:03
  4. COCO    3:56
  5. KEMBA    (Ray Lema/Stewart Copeland)    5:52
  6. SAMBURU SUNSET    6:19
  7. GONG ROCK    3:35
  8. FRANCO    2:12
  10. AFRICAN DREAM    3:26

    All music composed by Stewart Copeland unless noted


STEWART COPELANDguitar, bass, piano, keyboards, percussion, computer programmes, vocals, engineer
Ray Lema -- vocals
Jeff Sietz -- engineer
J.P. Dutilleux -- photography
Michael Ross & Jeremy Williams -- design

US/CAN May 1985 A&M LP SP-5084  
UK May 1985 A&M LP AMA-5084  
AUSL 1985 A&M LP L-38455  
BRA 1985 A&M LP 170100  
FRA 1985 A&M LP POL-281  
GER 1985 A&M LP 395 084-1  
JPN 1985 A&M LPPRO C28Y-3135 promo
JPN 1985 A&M LP AMP-28124  
US   A&M CD B0009062-2  


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