Music July 21, 2010 By Timothy Gunatilaka

filler126 Konono N°1: Assume Crash Position

Crammed Disc

Crammed Disc

konono title Konono N°1: Assume Crash Position
The Bazombo trance troupe from Congo have released their eagerly anticipated follow-up to 2005’s Congotronics 1, not to mention collaborations with Björk and Herbie Hancock. On tracks, like “Mama Na Bana” and the epic “Makembe”, effervescent blips — produced organically by steel rods resonating against hollowed wood — and the polyrhythmic patter of drums forged from scrap metal, car parts, pots, and pans resound with hypnotic chants, whistles, and soukous guitars. The subsequent effect fuses the futuristic with the old-fashioned, invoking the glitchy electronics of Aphex Twin and dense tapestries of Can matched with more traditional touchstones, like Fela Kuti. At times, the songs’ relentless jubilation can be a tad overwhelming; but just when you think you cannot take much more, Konono softens and slows it down with “Nakobala Lisusu Te”, Crash Position’s stripped-down finale, featuring only septuagenarian patriarch, Mawangu Mingiedi, and his thumb piano — and then they are gone. It’s the act of master craftsmen wholly confident in the power they wield over their audience — giving and taking away as they deem fit, always leaving them wanting, demanding more.

Buy this at Other Music or iTunes. After the jump, check out a live performance of “Makembe”.