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 at Elsewhere articles index

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column... > Read more

Various: Troubadours Vol 1 (Exile)

Various: Troubadours Vol 1 (Exile)

My guess is that you'd have to look long and hard (possibly through secondhand bins) to find albums by Glen Moffatt, Al Hunter and Red McKelvie who, from the late Eighties to the mid-Nineties... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Changui Majadero: El Changui Majadero (Changüí del Guaso Productions)

Changui Majadero: El Changui Majadero (Changüí del Guaso Productions)

As we've previously observed at Elsewhere, Cuban music has, since the Buena Vista Social Club more than two decades ago, been often reduced to the cliches of romantic old folk and supple... > Read more

Michael Bolton: Steel Bars (1991)

Michael Bolton: Steel Bars (1991)

And in what is undoubtedly a first at Elsewhere, we mention the name Michael Bolton, the shouty and soaring blue-eyed soul singer who was enormously popular with the ladies in the late Eighties and... > Read more