WaqWaq Kingdom
Hot Pot Totto

(Phantom Limb)


It’s a party at the end of the world. Shigeru Ishihara (aka DJ Scotch Egg) and Kiki Hitomi return to deliver a third helping of minyo footwork as WaqWaq Kingdom, a self-penned description that underlines the clashing genres and cultures that make their sound addictive. This time, they’ve set their sights on ecological decay, but you might not realise that at first, given how ecstatic the music is. 

Hot Pot Totto is all about energy, confidence and surprise. The duo write songs that pull from dub, dancehall, kuduro, and many many other influences. There’s a freedom and fluidity to the way they produce. Ideas tumble over each other. Tempos change on the fly. Sounds are jumbled and transformed. What keeps it grounded are Kiki Hitomi’s vocals. She acts as MC and modern spiritual leader, even when buried in goofy effects. ‘The Tower’ is powered by animated verses that become witchy squawks whenever she needs to up the camp. 

Ugandan artist Catu Diosis of the Nyege Nyege Tapes roster joins on ‘Buri Buri’. Together, they create one of the most relentless cuts of the year, with its cathartic drum circle and staccato raps. Elsewhere on ‘Eye Candy Man’, propulsive house is given a psychedelic shot to rival a final night in Ibiza. These are joyful sounds, with protest and anger lurking in the background. Given how upfront so much of the music is, the lyrics would benefit from being more cut-throat in their ecological messaging, but there’s no doubt how much thought, passion and optimism went into these urgent party tracks.