Kinshasa One Two

Kinshasa One Two

by Drc Music


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At the dawn of the 2000s, Damon Albarn traveled to Mali and made some recordings with a handful of local musicians, later shaped into Mali Music, a curious, casual, satisfyingly undefined collaborative foray that marked the starting point of his continued public fascination with the music of Africa. Ten years later -- following a decade that found the incessantly networking Albarn joining forces with many more African musicians through his myriad musical guises (Gorillaz, Blur, the Good, the Bad & the Queen), not to mention releasing the work of several others via his Honest Jon's label -- he returned to the continent for a similar project with a considerably grander scope, descending on metropolis of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a veritable army of British and American producers (ten of them, including Actress, Dan the Automator, Jneiro Jarel, and XL Recordings head Richard Russell) to interface with a much larger number of Congolese players and vocalists. What's more, the whole recording process lasted a mere five days. The resulting album (which, like Mali Music, was released as a benefit for Oxfam charities) is as sprawling, messy, and multifarious as you would imagine, a bustling, urban contrast to the sleepy, subdued village feel that prevailed on Mali Music. The difference can be ascribed to the energy of both the Kinshasan musicians and the cutting-edge electronic and hip-hop-oriented Western producers involved, as well as the frenzied, on-the-fly, street-level spirit of the recording experience itself. Strands of funk, house, hip-hop, dub, and techno intertwine freely and loosely with dense, polyrhythmic percussion grooves played on all manner of hand drums, bells, whistles, and scavenged scrap metal instruments (often performed by Bokatola System, who turn up four times) as well as sparser textures featuring thrumming likembes and twangy guitars, and a dizzying array of vocalists who sing, speak, rap, toast, and chant atop it all. (Arguably the most striking track here, a minute-long singsong entitled "Love" and performed by a lightning-tongued rapper/singer of the same name, is entirely a cappella.) Although little if anything here fits neatly into any specific Western genre (the Gorillaz-ish, gently poppy trip-hop of opener "Hallo" -- the only track to feature Albarn's vocals, and coincidentally the dullest thing here -- comes closest), this is definitely much more of a thorough cultural fusion than any sort of reverent "field recording" project -- both Western and African elements are readily audible on every cut, with a somewhat varying but generally quite equal balance of prominence. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's any less respectful of the local musicians and their contributions, nor any less of a resonant depiction of a globalized but nevertheless specific cultural environment. In the increasingly prevalent spirit of similar trans-cultural musical interminglings in recent years, what we get never feels carefully curated, explicated, or tamed but rather refreshingly, bewilderingly alive -- an explosive flurry of rhythms, sounds, and voices.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/08/2011
Label: Warp Records
UPC: 0801061022129
catalogNumber: 10221
Rank: 224498

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Drc Music   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Bass
Damon Albarn   Vocals,Group Member
Remi Kabaka   Group Member
Marc Antoine   Group Member
Dan the Automator   Group Member
Richard Russell   Group Member
Jneiro Jarel   scat,Group Member
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs   Group Member
Cubain Kabeya   Percussion,Drums
Rodaidh McDonald   Group Member
Ewing Sima   Percussion,Vocals
Padou Nkoyi   Guitar
Okwess International   Percussion
Odon Asok   Percussion
N'Gotshima   Vocals
Nelly Liyemge   Vocals
Michel Nsimi   Percussion
Magakala Virginia Yollande   Vocals
Lionel Kizaba   Percussion
Jupiter Bokondji   Vocals
Hamenakimayanga Esperant   Vocals
Evala Litongo   Vocals
Djanga Weny   Percussion
Boyo Kani   Percussion
Bokatola System   Vocals
Bitsindou Scafio   Percussion
Bercy Makamba   Percussion
Yowa Hollande   Vocals
Yende Bongongo   Vocals
Tshetshe Yenge   Percussion
Tshamala Mufubela   Flute
Tout Puissant Mukalo   Vocals
Pierre Sylvaine   Percussion
Pay Kumbi   Percussion

Technical Credits

Remi Kabaka   Producer
Dan the Automator   Composer,Producer
Richard Russell   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,drum programming
Jneiro Jarel   Composer,Producer
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Stephen Sedgwick   Engineer
Rodaidh McDonald   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Ewing Sima   Composer
Drc Music   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer
Aitor Throup   Art Direction
Gareth Pritchard   Retouching
Okwess International   Composer
N'Gotshima   Composer
Nelly Liyemge   Composer
Magakala Virginia Yollande   Composer
Loi X Liberal   Composer
Jupiter Bokondji   Composer
John Foyle   Engineer
Hardy Blechman   Art Direction
Evala Litongo   Composer
Bokatola System   Composer
Yowa Hollande   Composer
Yende Bongongo   Composer
Tout Puissant Mukalo   Composer

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