Kinshasa One Two
Even the most ardent of Blur fans would be hard pushed to accept that the 2002 Mali Music album was one of Damon Albarn’s finest moments. However, it did ignite Albarn’s drive to innovate and attempt unusual projects, which has since set him apart from the laughable spats of the Gallagher brothers. Having had resounding success with Gorillaz in recent years, Albarn once again returned to Africa this July to set about a sister project to Mali Music – this time based in Kinshasa, the capital of The Democratic Republic of Congo.
The premise was simple – 11 producers, 5 days, 1 album. The producers were an eclectic wealth of talent old and new; including long time Albarn collaborator Dan The Automator , XL label boss Richard Russell and Tokyo Indie’s headline act from last year’s anniversary party, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.
These producers worked together with a raft of local musicians to create this unique album.
The result is a clear progression from Mali Music. The tracks are far more rounded with DRC Music, sounding much more thought out and crafted.
On Mali Music, Albarn was at times hacking blindly at the jungle of sound he was working with, unable to pull it together cohesively. However, with DRC Music the reinterpretations sound crisp and purposeful. Furthermore, the songs appear very contemporary; arriving at a time when acts like SBTRKT are achieving commercial success with dark and tribal sounds.
The album is entitled ‘Kinshasa One Two’ due out on Warp records on October 3rd, with all proceeds going to Oxfam’s DRC charity which will benefit people in Kinshasa and beyond. For more information on the project, please visit the DRC Music homepage.
Words: Mark Birtles
Translation: Asuka Ozutsumi