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, falling somewhere between Konono Nº1, Nihiloxica and Factory Floor.
Since 2003, Kinshasa's Fulu Mziki have been repurposing abandoned trash and forming it into instruments that shape their unique electrified dance rituals. Pisco Crane recruited legendary instrument builder Bebson De La Rue and five like-minded musicians from the Kinshasa slums to build a modest orchestra using oil cans, metal pipes and fragments of old computers. A few years later, Pisco 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 notoriety before acrimoniously splintering. So ’N’Djila Wa Mudjimu’ which was recorded during lockdown at Nyege Nyege's studio - is the sole document of the band at their most complete, never to be repeated.
From beginning to end, it captures an energy that's impossible to put into words; 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 - but this is just gilding the lily. Their music is deep, unique and complex enough to stand on its own, from the rubbery folk rhythms and electrical chug of colourful opening track 'Mesami' thru the wiry clatter of screaming call to arms 'Mutangila' to the anthemic stop-start dancefloor rumble of 'Congo'.
Guided by chants and led by fractal drum patterns that split the sound-field with frequencies somewhere between DSP and physical clangs, ’N’Djila Wa Mudjimu’ is unforgettable music that captures a place and time in Congolese music history - and another essential tome from the Nyege stable.