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Konono No.1: Meets Batida

Read "Meets Batida" reviewed by James Nadal

The city of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the home of Konono No.1, a band which has taken the African likembé (thumb piano) from a folkloric instrument, into the electronic age. Back in the sixties, it's founder Mingiedi Mawangu figured out how to amplify the likembé, using salvaged car parts, and wired ...


Flat Earth Society: Cheer Me, Perverts!

Read "Cheer Me, Perverts!" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Fifteen-piece Belgian big band Flat Earth Society is the sonic equivalent of a freak show--weird, wonderful and like nothing you've come across before. Cheer Me, Perverts! is bursting with the energy of punk--sharing some of the anarchy, too--yet the CD exhibits intricate section harmonies and wonderful contrapuntal melodies. The soloists revel in their freedom, and the ...


Various Artists: 20 Ways to Float Through Walls

Read "20 Ways to Float Through Walls" reviewed by Ian Patterson

You don't have to go to Borneo's Rainforest Festival to catch Congolese thumb-piano musicians, riotous Balkan brass bands, Iranian divas, psychotic big-band jazz or chic bossa nova; Crammed Discs has it all, and more, on 20 Ways to Float Through Walls.

Throughout its quarter century existence Crammed Discs has produced an eclectic body of work which ...


Flat Earth Society: Psychoscout

Read "Psychoscout" reviewed by Nic Jones

Sit up and listen. Flat Earth Society is a big band with the integrity of a magpie, in the sense that it goes for the shiniest elements of a cultural outlook that takes in a kind of homage to Kurt Weill, incidental music for old TV detective series, and perhaps a touch of Henry Cow at ...


Flat Earth Society: Psychoscout

Read "Psychoscout" reviewed by Troy Collins

This Belgian big band has made quite a name for itself on the international underground scene. After touring with Mike Patton's postmodern metal band Fantomas, the group accrued some well deserved notoriety for its boundless spirit and unconventional outlook. While the members of the Flat Earth Society can readily ply pre-war 1940s big band charts with ...


Cibelle: The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves

Read "The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves" reviewed by AAJ Italy Staff

Immaginate cosa potrebbe succedere se si spostasse la Rocinha (la famigerata favela di Rio De Janeiro) ad Hyde Park. Uno straniamento assoluto. Ebbene questo è più o meno quello che succede ascoltando la bellissima musica di Cibelle, cantante brasiliana emigrata in Europa, capace di coniugare nel modo più fresco e coinvolgente la bossa nova della recente tradizione brasiliana con ...


Tuxedomoon: Bardo Hotel Soundtrack

Read "Bardo Hotel Soundtrack" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Tuxedomoon emerged from an eccentric byway of the San Francisco music scene in the late 1970s. At the time, the group's music was a prescient mix of human and machine-made sounds, with a propulsive beat and a savory dash of anomie.

In the decades since, the band's membership has fluctuated wildly, and the ...


Various Artists: Congotronics 2

Read "Congotronics 2" reviewed by Chris May

Earlier this year, the Congolese trance band known as Konono No. 1--a Mad Maxian agglomeration featuring ingenious and massive DIY amplification, electronically distorted, outsize likembe thumb pianos, and drum and percussion instruments made from recycled industrial scrap--burst out of Kinshasa to shock and awe the European music scene with Congotronics. It wasn't a jazz album by ...


Konono No.1: Congotronics

Read "Congotronics" reviewed by Chris May

Once in a while an album comes along which is so insanely wonderful that--jazz or not--it needs to be brought to the attention of this community. Such an album is Congotronics by Kinshasa trance band Konono No.1.

Unless you live in Kinshasa, or were at Amsterdam's Paradiso club last year for the recording of ...