Acclaimed Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo-based DIY electronic collective KOKOKO! is fueled by the growing spirit of protest and unrest among their hometown’s creatives and young people. Much like young people everywhere else, Kinshasa’s young people have openly questioned centuries’ old norms and taboos, and they’ve also openly denounced a society that they perceive as being paralyzed by fear — namely, the fear of inclusiveness and change.
The members of the collective and their counterparts in Kinshasa have challenged their society, its norms and its taboos with a fearless, in-your-face punk rock-like ethos. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising: The Congolese collective’s name literally means “KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!”
The collective views themselves as the sound and voice of a bold, defiant, new generation, about to kick down the doors and barge through while yelling “OUR TIME IS NOW!”
Their creative process is largely centered around the notion that poverty and the desperately urgent need to survive often fuels wild, boundary pushing creativity. Because of limited resources and limited access to instruments and recording gear, the Kinshasa-based collective operates in a largely DIY fashion out of necessity: They create self-designed and self-made instruments made from recycled and reclaimed flotsam and jetsam and bits of recovered junk. They even built a recording studio out of old mattresses, reclaimed wood and an old ping-pong table.
With the release of 2019’s critically applauded, boundary-pushing full-length debut, Fongola the Congolese collective exploded into the international scene while establishing a difficult to pigeonhole sound featuring elements of disco, post-punk, hip-hop, reggae, dancehall, Afro-futurism and the region’s folkloric styles and rhythms.
Since the release of their applauded full-length debut, the acclaimed Congolese outfit have been busy touring internationally while writing and recording material, which will hopefully appear on the act’s forthcoming — and highly-anticipated — follow-up to Fongola. In the meantime, the JOVM mainstays have released two new singles:
“Polo Munreni:” Featuring skittering beats, layers of oscillating synths, call and response vocals paired with an enormous, shout-along worthy hook, “Polo Munreni” continues a run of dancehall-influenced, club friendly bangers that should inspire even the most rhythmically unaware to get on the dance floor and wine down with some pretty young thing.
“Nassanilini:” Featuring double-timed, military like thump, skittering percussion, glitchy synths and shouted vocals “Nassanilini” is a post apocalyptic banger, centered around an irresistibly frenetic energy.
“Our new tracks are represented both on the record and stage by the duo of ‘The Lingwala Devil’ Makara Bianko and ‘The Mysterious’ Débruit,” the collective explains in press notes. “More electronic and percussive, they focus on the night time atmospheres of Kinshasa – filled with energy and everything from the equipment to the sound system pushed to their limit. With amps smoking, wires melting and the crowd losing it. It’s a huge truck coming forward at you. Elongi na Elongi – face to face!”