Boomkat Product Review:
Congolese multi-instrumentalist Titi Bakorta adds a psychedelic swirl to folk, pop and R&B sounds on his debut full-length, featuring a guest appearance from Metal Preyers' Jesse Hackett.
There's a lightness to Bakorta's music that's hard to place - is it his airy voice, the echoes of soukous, or the pattering, feather-light rhythms? Now based in Kampala, the guitarist hasn't had an easy ride - he grew up in Kinshasa, and on his way to Uganda to find his fortune, he almost died when he fell from a boat. Rescued by a friend, Bakorta ended up in Kisangani where he befriended local singer Dancer Papalas, who took him under his wing. The duo ended up playing throughout Africa, giving Bakorta plenty of experience and inspiration for his debut album 'Molende'.
It's music that's rooted in Congolese pop and folk sounds, but diverts these elements through psychedelic production techniques that sound closer to Panda Bear. 'Kop' stands out immediately, with a hiccuping beat that sounds like taps on a desk or a phone, cartoon sound effect and tangled guitar loops that sound as if they're about to fall out of time. Bakorta's voice ties everything together, an assured, acrobatic bellow that's able to be soft and urgent simultaneously. 'Laisse Moi Dancer' is even more eccentric as Bakorta dubs his vocals into traces, using militaristic snares to faintly underpin his virtuosic guitar playing and bizarre synth squelches, while 'Ndima Kaka' sounds like a moonlit love song, all soaring vocals and faint R&B clicks.
'Titi's Haunted House' rounds things out, pairing Bakorta with Nyege alum Jesse Hackett, who guides the Congolese original through a sonic hall of mirrors, directing his voice through a pedal board of FX and plumbing the depths of psychedelic abstraction.