KOKOKO! not to be confused with the similarly stylised KOKOROKO is the Kinshasa based group formed of not just musicians, but dancers and most intriguingly, inventors. Fongola is energetic, percussive, and can write a catchy hook, the sort of band who are almost certainly fun live. on Transgressive.
Vinyl LP £18.99 TRANS417X
Red coloured vinyl LP on Transgressive.
- Coloured vinyl
- Includes download code
CD £8.23 TRANS417CD
CD on Transgressive.
Though they occupy very different spaces musically, the Kinshasa band KOKOKO! Most remind me of is Senyawa. They share a common philosophy, a tradition-busting DIY single-mindedness that in both cases leads to music of uncommon intensity. But again, different music. Senyawa are positioned as a metal band whereas KOKOKO! are 100% dance.
Their debut album Fongola is explosive and catchy and fun. The band are pitched not only as musicians and dancers, but also inventors. That last title is deserved because the band make their own instruments resulting in all manner of weird but familiar sounds. ‘Azo Toke’s bassline sounds like someone touching an aux lead, ‘Malembe’ is built around some sort of vibrating percussion instrument. There are examples of this sort of creativity all over the record that gives the album a unique hue. There's also plucked metal string guitar, whose melodies are often looped till they feel like expertly executed samples.
On top of the instrumentation are vocals that are chanted back and forth between members of the band. This sort of vocal delivery always gives songs a real sense of dynamism, like you’re listening to the recording of party. That’s not to diminish how good the individual singers are. The lead on ‘Malembe’ has a beautifully resonant voice, every time the singer hits the deepest note on the hook it sends shivers down my spine.
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