For the best part of two decades, Fulu Miziki and the collective of artists and musicians around Pisco Crane have been creating innovative, challenging multi-genre sound that’s remarkable in both its consistency and courage. In recent years, their work has finally been reaching audiences beyond their native Democratic Republic of Congo, and not before time; yet the complexity of the many different iterations and offshoots from the original Kinshasa six-piece have meant that the project has become a little distant from its founding members. Therefore this new album, N’Djila Wa Mudujimu, by Crane, Lady Aicha and the perhaps pointedly-named Original Fulu Miziki Band of Kinshasa may be understood as (amongst other things) a corrective.
Whatever the interpersonal issues lurking in the background, the record itself is excellent, with compulsive percussion, industrial groove and Congolese rock crashing into elements of spiritual jazz and post-punk to create something dynamic and vital. The production is clean and unadorned, perfectly capturing the essence of a living, breathing band teasing sound from each other with ecstatic precision. Snatches of melody dive and surface between the choppy waters of harmony and meter, giving floundering listeners something to grip; it’s a thrilling experience.
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