There has been something of a buzz around Congolese music in the last few years, with the likes of Konono No. 1 both releasing albums and touring internationally, while compilations such as the Congotronics series or The Karindula Sessions have brought many obscure artists and musical forms to a wider audience. I suspect that we will come to recognise this cultural fireworks display as the equivalent of the Brazilian Tropicalia movement of the 1960s or Highlife in 1970s Lagos.
This is a 'good cause' album, released through Oxfam, which might raise suspicions in those who have bought worthy but weak compilations in the past. DRC Music is nothing of the sort. The tracks all sound like genuine collaborations, the quality of the recordings is outstanding, and the music is brilliant. A number of tracks, particularly K-Town and Three Piece Sweet, would sound awesome in any club. They have succeeded in making an album that will not only appeal to afficionados of African music but which equally belongs in the Warp section of your local record shop, alongside the other outputs of the artists from that label who are involved. The appearance of Damon Albarn might alarm those who bought his rather forgettable Mali Music album, but here his contribution seems limited to backing vocals on a single track. There's no hint of cultural imperialism; this is a real meeting of musical styles, and it works.
In short, buy this, and let it be your introduction to one of the most thrilling musical movements in the world today.