Congotronics (2005) by Konono No. 1

Categories: 2005 and Music.

It’s easy to see why electronic music fans flocked to this record, as it has all the danceable repetition of dance music but also enough exoticism to appeal to people who don’t just want to listen to middle of the road, safe dance music. It almost feels like music has come full circle: electronic composers and musicians took inspiration from tribal rhythms from all around the world and now these guys have taken inspiration from electronic dance music.

That’s bullshit, of course, as crudely electrifying likembes hardly qualifies taking inspiration from electronic music. Rather, it feels to us like that’s what happened because for most listeners in North America, our frame of reference does not include bazoimbo (mine certainly didn’t).
Basically what we get is sort of “garage” tribal music that sounds so much like what someone with a laptop, some deliberately shitty analogue equipment and some African samples might sound like (albeit minus the chanting and whistling).
It’s a fascinating and, to the best of my knowledge, unique combination of very traditional sounds with sounds that convince you their modern.


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