BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Various Artists: Tradi-Mods Vs Rockers (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Au Vs Masanka Sankayi: Two Labors
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Various Artists: Tradi-Mods Vs Rockers (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Subtitled “Alternative Takes on Congotronics”, this well-annotated double disc lets loose alternative and post-rock acts on the lo-fi but compelling music from Kinshasa dance clubs where cheap keyboards and beat-machines were slammed alongside traditional thumb piano, found instruments (pots'n'pans), megaphones, electric guitars and drums.

The bands Konono No 1 and Kasai Allstars (and the Congotronics collection also sourced here) make astonishing music, and since the appearance of the first Konono No 1 album five years ago people have tripped over themselves to hail these innovative musicians or share the same bill.

Unlike the manufactured Rhythms del Mundo albums (Cuban-ized Western pop), this collection bring together people who – despite geographical and cultural distance – share the same outsider ethos or rhythmic sensibilities.

So here Deerhoof and Animal Collective, percussion player Glenn Kotche (Wilco) and Jolie Holland, electronica big names (Burnt Friedman) and many others mix-up, process, gently mash-up or deftly massage Congotronics/Konono/Kasai and others' material.

Impressive and fun in an Afro-ambient/electronica way, and not a whiff of PC “world music” or cultural imperialism. Just interesting, challenging and dangerous (Woom's attack on Enter the Chief) sounds.

Most often these pieces are like cutting-edge post-rock or the kind of music you get on a sampler disc from magazines like The Wire, sort of 21st century techno-electrobeat wrapping up real percussion.

This variously sounds like mad soundtrack music, Terry Riley minimalism with a heart as well as a pulse, off-cuts from some warped Brian Eno project with African musicians, and a journey through sound (dub, techno, ambient, trip-rock) which hip people in New York and Berlin work years to try to come up with.

Brilliant on it own and, in the best of all possible worlds, this might lead newcomers back to that first Congotronics album where Konono No 1 redefined/ignored musical parameters.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

The Topp Twins: Honky Tonk Angel (Topp)

The Topp Twins: Honky Tonk Angel (Topp)

To be perfectly honest I went off the Topp Twins very quickly: around the time of the Women's Web Collective album Out of the Corners of '82 and in a few subsequent years I thought they were... > Read more

Jimmy Norman: Little Pieces (Wildflower)

Jimmy Norman: Little Pieces (Wildflower)

Quite why and how this 2004 album has turned up only now is a mystery to me, but here it. Better late than . . . This old journeyman r'n'b singer co-wrote eight songs with Bob Marley in early... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITERS GAVIN AND ODETTE consider the romantic young John Lennon

GUEST WRITERS GAVIN AND ODETTE consider the romantic young John Lennon

A Hard Day’s Night by the Beatles is a mono vision. When you put it on – while reading this article of course – make sure you put it on loud. The first thing you will realize... > Read more

MURRAY McNABB INTERVIEWED (1947-2013): The new man with the courage to make himself new

MURRAY McNABB INTERVIEWED (1947-2013): The new man with the courage to make himself new

The plan would have been timely: a concert acknowledging the half century he’d known and played in bands with drummer Frank Gibson. But then everything changed. “They gave me a year,... > Read more