Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Congotronics
November 22, 2005 8:55 PM   Subscribe

Congotronics! Mawangu Mingiedi, 72, a musician and truck driver from Kinshasa, was simply trying to allow the music of his street band, Konono No. 1, be heard over the traffic and street noise, but when he fashioned home-made amplifiers out of junkyard parts he created something raw and distorted with a sound all its own (quicktime). (via MonkeySARS, where an MP3 awaits you)
posted by Robot Johnny (41 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
More on Konono from WFMU.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:59 PM on November 22, 2005


It dosn't sound that distorted to me...
posted by delmoi at 9:03 PM on November 22, 2005


It sounds much different than any likembé I've ever played. I think it's wonderful! Thanks, Robot Johnny.
posted by rhapsodie at 9:08 PM on November 22, 2005


Kick ass mp3, thanks.
posted by moift at 9:11 PM on November 22, 2005


Related.
posted by erebora at 9:14 PM on November 22, 2005


More here.
posted by Wolof at 9:16 PM on November 22, 2005


tasty beats. thanx.
posted by tritisan at 9:21 PM on November 22, 2005


I searched for that domain and it didn't come up, so sorry for the slight double post... although it was back in 2003, so I'm not that sorry.
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:23 PM on November 22, 2005


Still, this is the first I've heard of this and frankly, it's great.

Thanks!
posted by Freen at 9:31 PM on November 22, 2005


I can't usually get into what's often dully described as "world music" - more specifically, the many forms of African music I've heard. This, however, is amazing. Thank you much for introducing it to me. I'll be seeking out some full recordings.
posted by item at 9:37 PM on November 22, 2005


I do wish they'd take it easy with the whistle, though.
posted by item at 9:39 PM on November 22, 2005


I like the whistle. This was great, thanks. Anyone kow what the lyrics are about?
posted by Falconetti at 9:42 PM on November 22, 2005


Another mp3 can be found here. I saw these guys perform last week in NYC. People seemed to enjoy the show, but truth be told I left a little early. There was also some related discussion in this thread from last week.
posted by dougny at 9:48 PM on November 22, 2005


This is great. There's something about this band that I love. Thanks.
posted by greasy_skillet at 9:51 PM on November 22, 2005


sorry for the slight double post... although it was back in 2003, so I'm not that sorry.

I'm certainly not sorry, either. I'm happy to see another post this music in the blue.
posted by jokeefe at 10:47 PM on November 22, 2005


^^

"about this music", rather.
posted by jokeefe at 10:48 PM on November 22, 2005


Yeah. I love this stuff. Wish more people were doing this kind of thing.

Maybe I'll do a bootleg remix of this stuff versus some Kraftwerk. That might be neat. Maybe throw in some Parliament.
posted by geekhorde at 10:49 PM on November 22, 2005


I bought their album three months ago. I'm not allowed to play it in the house any more. I hope the ancestors can hear it from my iPod.

Doom, doom-dit doom-doom dit! Tucka-doom, doom-dit doom-doom dit!
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:04 PM on November 22, 2005


If you like distorted world beats, you may enjoy muslimgauze, it's in the "IDM" genre, so it's a bit scattered and experimental. At the previous link you can find some mp3s to sample.

Here is the official site. He's actually British and NOT a muslim, IIRC... Though he does have a very Islamic/Middle-Eastern/African/Indian sound... Curious what anyone else thinks of it. Also, he was (again, IIRC) killed in a car accident a few years back. But he has a vast catalog available.

At Let It Be Records in Minneapolis, they seem to have an absurd number of CDs of his. I'm not sure why, but I've never seen as many of his discs IRL as I have there.
posted by symbioid at 12:12 AM on November 23, 2005


Awesome. Thanks for posting this. I was so moved (out of my seat) that I immediately purchased the album from the iTunes Music Store.
posted by basicchannel at 12:12 AM on November 23, 2005


also, sorry for the deeper link, but here's the actual discography of his... 188 releases... since 1982 (though this includes compilations and reissues)
posted by symbioid at 12:16 AM on November 23, 2005


That was neat. I love the African rhythms, but it sounds like it was recorded by equipment used in the '40s - sounds a lot like my dad's old 78 records. Fresh and old at the same time. Thanks a lot for the post!
posted by aardvarkratnik at 12:17 AM on November 23, 2005


This is fantastic. I enjoyed it enough that I also immediately ordered a copy.
posted by Stunt at 12:23 AM on November 23, 2005


> In 1948, in Chicago, Muddy Waters captured a bone-rattling buzz coming out of his guitar while recording his blues classic "I Can't Be Satisfied." Three years later at Sun Studios in Memphis, guitarist Willie Kizart dropped his amp, which damaged the speaker cone and created the unruly hum heard on "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats. Some historians consider it the first rock 'n' roll record.

"We had no way of getting the amp fixed," the late producer Sam Phillips once explained in Deep Blues. "So we stuffed a little paper in there and it sounded good – it sounded like a saxophone."

Another half-broken guitar amp buzzed throughout Johnny Burnette's 1956 hit "Train Kept A Rollin'," and eventually, the light bulb went on: Why not damage the amp on purpose?

"I started punching holes in the speakers with a pencil, trying to re-create that dirty, fuzzy sound I was getting onstage," Link Wray told The Dallas Morning News in 1997, explaining the ominous guitar distortion of his '57 hit "Rumble." "On the third take, there it was, just like magic."

posted by dhartung at 1:10 AM on November 23, 2005


I read a review of the second volume in the congotronics series at the weekend (which features other artists), and, even allowing for music reviewer hyperbole, it sounded really interesting. Cheers for the reminder, and the links.
posted by drill_here_fore_seismics at 2:02 AM on November 23, 2005


I got the first Congotronics disc the week it came out and it hasn't been far from the stereo since - just plain exciting music.

Maybe I'll do a bootleg remix of this stuff versus some Kraftwerk. That might be neat. Maybe throw in some Parliament.

Do it in an elevator, and you'll end up with techno ;-)
posted by jack_mo at 3:13 AM on November 23, 2005


Wow. A truck driver from Kinshasa creates surprising and original street music and a guy in Seattle with insomnia hears it at 4 AM and immediately purchases a recording of it. This is truly the best of the internet.

I hope that a decent portion of the royalties make it to Mr. Mingiedi.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:08 AM on November 23, 2005


Now, why do I never see videos like that on MTV and VH-1?
posted by alumshubby at 4:34 AM on November 23, 2005


Now, why do I never see videos like that on MTV and VH-1?

Hmmm... because it wasn't dreamed up by an overpaid music "producer" and market tested by corporate bean counters to reach the lowest common denominator for maximum return on investment?

Or just maybe 'cause it was good.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:08 AM on November 23, 2005


That video really, really makes me wanna go to Africa and dance with those people. No, really.
posted by zardoz at 5:08 AM on November 23, 2005


What an inspiration!

wow - zardoz - I'm going with you, too...

Such a waste to live there as a perpetually stoned teenager - I wanna do-over!
posted by PrincessRue at 6:01 AM on November 23, 2005


Great music. Thanks for this gem Robot Johnny.
posted by caddis at 6:48 AM on November 23, 2005


Thanks, robot johnny and erebora.
posted by shoepal at 6:49 AM on November 23, 2005


I learned about these guys from the 2003 post, and have been nuts for them since.

Ijust saw these guys live at the Kennedy Center last night, for free, to boot. They were incredible, although not as amped and distorted as they come across on CD. I couldn't tell if they weren't as electrified, or if decades of punk rock have led me to subconsciously expect so much of it that I don't notice much anymore. They still reminded me of an African Aphex Twin.

There was a reporter from NPR there, and she had interviewed the band that morning. She was pitching the story, but said it may be on next month...
posted by chinese_fashion at 6:51 AM on November 23, 2005


I wonder who does their booking... I'd love to get 'em here in town...
(Fantastic stuff. Now, if I could only buy them some phaser, wahwah and delay pedals they'd be my dream band...)
posted by klangklangston at 8:21 AM on November 23, 2005


LOVE LOVE LOVE this music, the video had me breathless, I cant believe that sound doesnt come from a computer.

People who like this might be interested in the One Giant Leap Project, especially the DVD
posted by skrike at 8:58 AM on November 23, 2005


I saw them recently too, and I agree with chinese_fashion that they don't sound as IDM-y live as on record. It's still very repetitive (a bonus for me) -- they only played about 5 songs in over an hour of concert. People were dancing in the aisles.
posted by nev at 10:27 AM on November 23, 2005


Got home and checked out the MP3 and I'm sold, most likely start with volume 2, as there are more artists on there.
posted by drill_here_fore_seismics at 11:00 AM on November 23, 2005


Konono No.1 rock and their concert was the jam (even though it wasn't as good as their recordings).

I saw them in a venue that usually caters to folk and singer/song-writer type artists and there is nowhere to dance, but almost everyone ended up dancing- either in the aisles or moving chairs.

Too bad this wasn't posted earlier, they just finished up the US tour.
posted by p3t3 at 12:10 PM on November 23, 2005


I saw Konono #1 in Chicago two weeks ago and it was FANTASTIC. Everyone in the whole building was getting down.
posted by torregrassa at 12:36 PM on November 23, 2005


For the record re: Muslimgauze mentioned above, he's dead. Died a few years ago.

He was/is fairly controversial, too, because of his hardline anti-Israel stance and his album titles often reflect his politics.

That Konono #1 video is great.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:02 PM on November 23, 2005


« Older Cheap oil for the masses....   |   Ten days after the September 1... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments