Tuesday, December 02, 2008


From Crammed Discs, the folks who brought you Kasai Allstars and the Congotronics series comes this:

You couldn't make it up: Staff Benda Bilili are a squad of paraplagic street-musicians from Kinshasa, DRC, who have built makeshift wheelchairs from old bicycles, motorbikes and discarded junk. They are supported by an accoustic rhythm-section and a teenage guitarist who has constructed an electric one-string lute from a tin can. I do not have the words to sufficiently describe the tonalities he achieves on his 'guitar'. I'd have to make up new adjectives to even come slightly close. Sometimes it sounds like slippery martian mouse or a sentient slinky spring.

The band sometimes sounds futurustic n funky, sometimes bluesy, sometimes wistful n soulful...combining raw emotion with playful musical wit and invention; anything that's sat within reach seems to get drafted in for percussive duty: knees are slapped along with hand-drums, metal, wood, junk...something that sounds like knitting needles or an old typewriter tics out a ratchety fifth-world post-drum n bass riddim that wrong-foots and folds in on itself like an old Squarepusher break. And that mental-sounding itchy/scratchy little guitar that seems to be auto-broadcasting itself from a homemade radio hidden somewhere in the room...

Recorded by Vincent Kenis, the legendary Belgian producer and field sound-engineer...this is an unmastered 6-track taster for the full album, which should be appearing sometime next year.

Is it good. Nah...

it's fucking great.

More info as n when.