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"Music instruments are rare or very expensive," says the French artist débruit in the introduction to the latest RA Session. "So the idea that they had was to produce electronic music but acoustically." He's referring to the musicians he collaborates with as KOKOKO!, a group from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic Of The Congo, who build string and percussion instruments out of stuff they find on the streets. This new version of the group including débruit, which was brought together by the production company La Belle Kinoise, set up a makeshift studio in Kinshasa out of mattresses and a ping pong table and began to jam. The resulting sound has an explosive cocktail of influences. débruit's electronic pulse meets the raw expressions of the local musicians, who channel the tensions of the DRC's current political climate while also drawing from local music traditions. On a track called "Tongos'a," a folkloric pattern of the Mongo tribe is adopted as the bassline; on "Likolo," from the same EP, the group's lead singer, Makara Bianko, reimagines a chant from his Bateke heritage. KOKOKO! released two EPs in 2017, which, along with a striking introductory video that went viral, helped them secure an extensive European tour at the end of last year. (They'll play this summer's Sónar festival in Barcelona.) The KOKOKO! live show is an embodiment of DIY creativity. As you'll see from this three-track RA Session, they've used junk like an old toaster, scrap metal and plastic bottles to translate the urgency of their ideas into sound.
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