Damon Albarn has been travelling again. It’s not been the first time for the Blur- and Gorillaz main man to go to Africa – as a co-owner of record label Honest Jon’s he has dug through local archives and collaborated with native artists again and again. In July this year, Albarn made his way to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), joined by western musicians such as Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Dan The Automator, and Actress. They wanted to make music. They wanted to make music with the contemporary musicians of Congo.
Today, the result of a five day visit has found its way into the Warp Records catalogue: DRC Music’s ‘Kinshasa One Two’, a 14 track strong album, is released today and it’s one of the best things we’ve heard this year in global pop as well as in electronic music – simple is that.
Together with Bokatola System, Tout Puissant Mukalo and The Okwess International, DRC Music is a stunning fusion of Congolese sounds, instruments and rhythms with contemporary western bass music. Tracks such as ‘Ah Congo’ with its deep and slow dub rhythm and Jupiter Bokondji’s hypnotic vocals will definetly end up in my dj sets, just as the polyrhythmic, high speed traditional chant song ‘We Come From the Forest’ that seems at if it might also fit as an extension of Caribou’s ‘Bowls’ track. Then there are references to 2-step (‘Lingala’), Industrial (‘If You Wish to Stay Awake’), rocksteady and reggae (‘Respect of the Rules’) and the obscure genre afrorock (‘Lourds’), which gained attention lately with bands such as Vampire Weekend. The difference here is: this is authentic afropop.
‘Kinshasa One Two’ is being released worldwirde through Warp Records as a digital, CD and vinyl release. All benefits of this non-profit project go directly into the work of human rights organization Oxfam, which is working in the Democratic Republic of Congo, helping the hundreds of thousands of people “to access education, clean water, sanitation and basic hygiene“, said Pauline Ballaman, Oxfam’s DRC country director.
“Not only will DRC Music shine a light on the incredible musical talent coming out of the country, it will raise much needed funds for Oxfam’s invaluable work here and focus the world’s attention on Congo once again, seeing it as a place of inspiration, creativity and hope”, she continues.
Warp Records issued a statement, too: “We feel incredibly fortunate to be involved in the journey that culminated in ‘Kinshasa One Two’. It’s completely, brilliantly, unlike anything Warp has undertaken before, but nonetheless feels like a very natural endeavour for us to be a part of. We’re supremely grateful to all the artists, musicians and producers who joined together to create this amazing record and shared a vision of contributing in some small way to benefit the people of the DRC.”
You can stream the album in full below and buy it as a CD digipack (including bonus tracks, a download & booklet) or double gatefold vinyl (including ‘art cards’, download and bonus tracks). Or you can win two copies of the DRC Music vinyl release right here and now. Here’s what you need to do: SPREAD THE WORD! Share this article or the http://drcmusic.org website with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, or wherever – just tell the world. Then copy/paste the public deeplink to or make a screenshot of this shared item and
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