Boomkat Product Review:
Seriously unquantifiable electrified dance mysticism from the now-defunct Congolese outfit Fulu Mziki. "N'Djila Wa Mudjimu" is the single remaining document of their genre-blurring sculptural sound, that falls somewhere between Konono Nº1, Nihiloxica, !!! and Factory Floor. Serious shit.
Since 2003, Kinshasa's Fulu Mziki have been repurposing abandoned trash and forming it into instruments that help shape their unique electrified dance rituals. The idea came from band leader Pisko Crane, who had his mind opened up after a meeting with legendary instrument builder Bebson De La Rue. Crane got together with five like-minded musicians from the Kinshasa slums and built a modest orchestra using oil cans, metal pipes and fragments of old computers. A few years later, Pisko invited performance artist, sculptor and fashion designer Lady Aicha to join the band, and she immediately set about defining their style, helping Fulu Mziki develop costumes and masks that paid tribute to Kinshasa's vivid street performance scene. After a surprising viral video hit, the band achieved rapid global notoriety, and released an EP on the Moshi Moshi EP last year before acrimoniously splintering. So "N'Djila Wa Mudjimu" - which was recorded during lockdown at Nyege Nyege's studio - is a document of the band at their most complete, and something that will never be repeated.
From beginning to end, it captures an energy that's hard to put into words. Fuli Mziki fizz with the lightning-in-a-bottle energy of Congolese legends Konono Nº1, but their music inserts fragments of dance music, central African folk and raucous DIY soundsystem flexes, causing a frenetic and kinetic throb of urgent energy and exploratory serendipity. Much has already been made of Fulu Mziki's eco sensibilities - their dedication to using discarded remnants that are destroying their country has far wider implications - but this is just gilding the lily. Their music is already deep, unique and complex enough to stand on its own, from the rubbery folk rhythms and electrical chug of colorful opening track 'Mesami' thru the wiry clatter of screaming call to arms 'Mutangila' to the anthemic stop-start dancefloor rumble of 'Congo'.
Guided by memorable chants and led by fractal drum patterns that split the sound-field with frequencies that split the difference between DSP and physical clangs, "N'Djila Wa Mudjimu" is unforgettable music that captures a place and time in Congolese music history - another essential tome from the Nyege stable.