Boomkat Product Review:
'Liye Liye' is an outerzone burner, shifting Congolese sounds and soukous rhythms into a bleep techno milieu, flirting with grime's enduring exoskeleton. Tip!
La Roche's debut solo album establishes a series of releases on Nyege Nyege Tapes focusing on new music from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The producer is best known for his work with eco-activist collective Fulu Miziki, but on "Liye Liye" his outlook is electronic, examining the DRC's musical traditions and balancing them with influences from further afield, melting Afrohouse and gqom elements with lithe, mind-altering techno, shifting soukous (a sound derived from Congolese rumba) thru grime and trap pressure.
It's hard to express how bizarre and brilliant the result is - the ragged, slow electronic voices that growl beneath chants of "liye, liye" on the languid title track are odd and hooky, the glassy FM soundset on 'Esperimante Abbe' underpins loose, rapid-fire toms and left-of center melodic blasts that really sound like nothing else out there. There's an air of Sweet Exorcist's transportive early dance construxxions on 'Figuyr', but the moment you expect it to grind into 4/4, it mutates into near-highlife jubilation.
The album's most surprising twist isn't on the chiptune-inspired 'Azaliawa Instrim' or the chaotic, acid-dipped 'Fox de Moroto', it's on 'Elela', a track that sounds like Wiley's Tunnel Vision instrumentals, gunshots included, where spooky synths and car sounds cram into a deliriously fucked four minutes. Unhinged in the best possible way, "Liye Liye" is proof - if it were needed - that the DRC always marches to the beat of its own drum.