Boomkat Product Review:
Nkisi rolls out a modern classic with ‘7 Directions’ for UIQ. A masterful debut album informed by African Cosmology and Congolese rhythms, it’s aesthetically comparable with music ranging from Autechre's ‘Incunabula’ to The Connection Machine’s ‘Painless’ and Lee Gamble's hyperprisms, but ultimately it’s peerless in the (hyper)modern field...
Specifically referencing the writings of Kongo scholar Dr Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau and the African Cosmology of the Bantu-Kongo, ‘7 Directions’ is offered as a gateway to hallucinatory mindstates via aerobic mysticism, focussed on the idea that rhythm has the capacity to modulate and experiment with conditions of perception.
Nkisi inimitably unlocks and retunes the body’s rhythmic anticipation with breathless batteries of polyrhythms that arguably make the majority of Western dance styles sound like rote line dance music for folk with little imagination in their bones. In each direction, her drums writhe and rattle in a simultaneously ancient/futuristic style - ancient because they explicitly reference percussive traditions way older than Western civilization, and futuristic because they’ve never been presented in this way before, alloyed with cosmic synth pads that draw lines from Detroit to the Lowlands and back to source, way out in the cosmos.
But rather than closed systems for study and analysis, Nkisi’s trax feel like living, bristling organisms, virulent systems that only become activated with user participation, where those ideas can begin to take root, grow and mutate via kinesis.