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Published: 2015/08/18
by Ron Hart

Mbongwana Star
From Kinshasa

World Circuit-Nonesuch

If you ever find yourself talking about the most underrated beatmakers on a global level, the name Doctor L should be right up there at the top of your list. For over 20 years, the Frenchman born Liam Farrell has been holding it down for the rest of the world in the realms of abstract hip-hop, perhaps best known for his work as a member of Psyco On Da Bus alongside legendary Fela Kuti musical director and percussionist supreme Tony Allen. Fifteen years later, the Dublin-born Farrell revisits his uncanny rapport with the music of the Dark Continent by working with the excellent Congolese septet Mbongwana Star on their full-length debut for the World Circuit imprint. And on From Kinshasa, the combination of the Doc’s multi-culti beat science and M. Star’s forward thinking view of indigenous rhythm theory is really unlike anything you’ve heard before in the African music genre. Tracks like “Coco Blues”, “Suzanna” and “Kala” are like the polyrhythmic experiments conducted by the likes of Talking Heads and Brian Eno in the late 70s/early 80s swimming back home up the Congo River to spawn an entirely new hybrid of groove that repurposes all of that aluminum stolen from their land for the computers used to create it. If you are a fan of Madlib’s Beat Konducta in Africa or Congo funk forefathers Kokono No. 1 (who appear on lead single “Malukayi”), you need to own From Kinshasa. This is the future.

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