Various Congotronics 2: Buzz N' Rumble in the Urb N' Jungle

As a further entry into the "tradi-moderne” sound of Kinshasa, this is a perfect second volume to follow up Konono No. 1’s mind-bending disc from last year. With six groups (including Konono), there’s more variety, the mix is even better, and most notably, there’s a DVD to give additional context to the sounds. In general, the groups collected on this disc point towards more familiar (relatively speaking) entries into Congolese pop forms of the last 40 years. For instance, the super-deep bass likembe on "Soif Conjugale” by Masanka Sankayi bounces along like the finest soukous from the ’80s, but its tortured lead likembe line leads somewhere else entirely. "Kabuangoyi” by the Kasai Allstars, has the Congolese rumba/proto-soukous guitar riff down pat, but put through some major distortion, as is the fuzzy bass tone. Much was made of the resemblance of Konono’s music to techno, Krautrock and dub, but if anything, Congotronics 2 suggests massive rock riffs lurking within the suburbs of Kinshasa. The shining moment of this disc is "Kiwembo” by Sobanza Mimanisa, which kicks off with a bass likembe that would make Lemmy tremble, and completes the one-two punch with a power chord-based riff on a battered-sounding electric guitar. As for the new Konono track that closes the disc out, it has the same unstoppable energy as their full-length, but is not as sonically pummelling — but only by a slight degree. The DVD is an essential companion to this music, and the whole package is indispensable. (Crammed)