Kenge Kenge Kenge

Kenge Kenge Kenge
Cynics would say this disc rides on the coattails of Konono #1’s surprise crossover success, but that reduces the individual beauty of this record to a marketing equation. That said, the sonic approach of this Kenyan "tradi-moderne” band (as they might be called in Congo) is a similar blend of thumping, scraping and overblown acoustic ingredients rendered club-friendly in the mix. Kenge Kenge play traditional Luo music, which evolved into Benga during the ’60s and ’70s. If you’re familiar with Benga through the music of Thrill Jockey’s Extra Golden, you’ll find the KK sound somewhat tangential to the more unidirectional groove of Benga. With rumbling, stereo-panned percussion, flutes and electric bass licks, this mix features a cavernous bass sound pierced by soaring flute and an Appalachian-sounding one-stringed fiddle. As soon as their eponymous first song drops, the four to the floor drum rhythm with disco hi-hat will engage the mind and body of anyone within earshot. This approach is sustained for 70 minutes but the modulation of the electric bassist and the producers’ love of panning and echo make each of the tunes distinct. They’re repetitive enough to induce a trance but not so much as to stop grooving at top speed. (Riverboat)