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Congotronics [CD]

Konono No 1 Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: 10.84 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Konono N°1's "Congotronics" album introduced the world to the strange and spectacular electro-traditional mixtures which are being concocted in the suburbs of Kinshasa, Congo. World music, electronica and avant-rock aficionados have all been equally amazed by this otherworldly music, which has driven the international press to come up with some surprising comparisons (from ... Read more in Amazon's Konono No 1 Store

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Congotronics + Assume Crash Position + Congotronics Vol.2
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Product details

  • Audio CD (31 Dec 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Crammed Discs
  • ASIN: B0006UGGX4
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,931 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Product Description

Konono No.1 release the first album from Crammed Disc's series Congotronics, which is devoted to electrified traditional music from the Congo.

Konono No.1 was founded over 25 years ago by Mingiedi, a virtuoso of the likembe ("thumb piano"). The band's line-up includes three electric likembes, equipped with home-made microphones built from magnets salvaged from old car parts plus a rhythm section which uses traditional as well as makeshift percussion (pots, pans and car parts), three singers, three dancers and an unusual PA system incorporating megaphones dating from the colonial period.

The members of Konono No.1 come from an area which straddles the border between Congo and Angola and their repertoire draws largely on Bazombo trance music. They left the bush to settle in the capital and in order to continue to fulfil their social role and to make themselves heard over the high levels of urban noise by their ancestors (and, of course, their fellow citizens), had to resort to makeshift electrification of their instruments. This has provoked a radical mutation of their sound, and has accidentally connected them with the aesthetics of experimental rock and electronic music, as much through the sounds they use as through the sheer volume of their performances (they play in front of a wall of speakers) and their merciless grooves.

The Konono No.1 album and the Congotronics series in general is being recorded and produced by Vincent Kenis, who is a leading expert in Congolese music and who has produced albums by Zap Mama, Taraf de Haïdouks & Koçani Orkestar.

Personnel: Mawangu Mingiedi, Mawangu Makuntima (likembe), Bodika Kungu (bass likembe), Lulendo Arumba, Kanda Mateta (percussion), Nzimbu Kuavita (tam tam) and others

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This popped through my letterbox this morning and I'm already in love. I don't normally buy much in the "World music" category but having read a review in the excellent "Word" magazine, I felt sufficiently inspired to take a chance on this.
The music comes from the suburbs of Kinshasa and features weird, distorted tones from these little thumb pianos that they wire up to hand-made microphones. All the tracks are quite trancey and repetitive but there's lots of odd little sounds and drones to keep you interested.
If you like the rhythms of Samba or the Burundi drummers, the electronic experimentation of Aphex Twin or Autechre and the repetition of Krautrock or The Fall, chances are you'll like this. Ah, heck, just go buy it will ya...
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a revelation! 29 April 2005
By craig
Format:Audio CD
This is pure noise terrorism from start to finish, and fantastic it is too!! Everything's going off at once, chants, whistles, likembes. All made to sound like a street funk techno party in the congo. Every open minded music lover needs to own this. The fact that impresses me the most is that these people make their own instruments from old car parts etc. I've never heard anything like this before but I'm so glad I have now. CONGO-TASTIC!!!
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
So here at last is a record which has woken me up from the musical slumber that is 2005 so far. But to be honest, even in better musical times this record would shine.
Konono No 1 are a group from Kinshasa in the Congos. Just hearing about this group's history is fascinating: formed 25 years ago, the group draws its influences from Bazombo trance music, using thumb pianos, chants and just about any (and I mean any) form of percussion available to create a dark funk of ancestral music. Having moved from the bush of the Congos to the noisy capital, the group created their own soundsystem so that their message could be heard loud and clear amongst the city bustle. Although the group originally disliked the noisy distortion of the amps, they are now an integral part of their sound.
This music is distorted, noisy and utterly hypnotising. The thumb piano and the various percussion coming through the amps takes on a sound that is completely urban. You can imagine these guys sitting on a city street gathering people around as their music lulls them in before shaking them firmly by the feet. Meanwhile, the ancestral roots of their music lies clear beneath it in the melodies and chants. This is at times disturbing and otherworldy, and at others quite sunny and upbeat, but at all times this remains freakily funky and energetic music.
I am concerned that a reader will think I am talking about another quaint, faintly "modernised" world music album to be heard by white women who wear saris and smell strongly of patchouli oil. Forget it, the percolating hiss and grumble of the percussions and chants of this record have a spirit more akin to electronica or Steve Reich's experiments with microphones than anything off Peter Gabriel's Real World label.
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Format:Audio CD
Konono No.1 are an Africa collective originating from the border area between Congo and Angola. Featuring likembe (or thumb-piano), percussion and vocals, they draw on the Bazombo tradition of trance music, and in their mission to bring this music to urban environments, they found themselves the inadvertent innovators of a new sound. When playing on the noisy streets of an African city, amplification is required to make oneself heard, and so Mingiedi and his associates built themselves a makeshift soundsystem constructed from discarded materials. With their own amateur amps, microphones, megaphones and percussion objects, they were forced to embrace the originally unwanted distortions of their soundsystem. This has resulted in a hybrid new form that has much in common with the aesthetics of experimental electronica and rock. If a little more rough-and-ready, it immediately put me in mind of the electrified Indian tabla (or `tablatronica') of Tabla Beat Science and Talvin Singh.
The amplified likembe produce a sound like marimba with fuzz, and this is accompanied by lively rhythmic drumming, whistling and chanting. The beat is infectious, and it's easy to imagine dancing yourself into an altered state of consciousness. In Nigeria, Fela may have created the distinctively funky Afro-Beat, well now Konono No.1 have created its percussive, central African cousin. I would love to see this group perform live, so I hope they secure a popularity that might bring them to the Euro-American performing circuit. This is the second album by Konono No.1, whose success has clearly had an impact, and I'm glad to say that I shall soon be seeking its follow-up `Buzz and Rumble in The Urban Jungle', a CD and DVD of music in a similar vein, featuring six different electrified bands from Kinshasa. Groove on!
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7 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the hype 31 Mar 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I bought this album on the strength of the Daily Telegraph review and because I wanted to listen to more music from around the world. But this CD was a big disappointment. Perhaps I misread the Daily Telegraph review, but I thought the description of relentless beats and a lo-fi, hand made electronic sound would be a good thing, because I do like those types of music when done well and I thought having them all in one group would be even better. Unfortunately Konono No.1 have not yet developed a good song structure. They can undoubtedly keep a rhythm for 8 minutes, but there are not enough break-beats. Perhaps it is unfair to compare some people who perform on the streets of the Congo, using equipment scavenged from where they can get it, with powerful relentless drum and bass, like 'Morse Code' by Roni Size or ultra-dancable brit-ska-revival like 'Mirror in the Bathroom' by The English|International Beat, but that is the type of thing Konono No1 are trying to do. Perhaps a good producer and exposure to some great music might help Konono No1 in the future, but I didn't think a great deal of this album.
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