Konono No. 1
WebsiteKonono No. 1
The members of Congolese band Konono No. 1 were aiming for resourcefulness rather than stylishness when they built crude scrap-metal amplifiers for their likembé thumb pianos in the late 1970s. The resulting flurries of distorted notes—mixed with traditional ensemble singing and hand percussion—earned a warm reception from both world- and electronic-music fans when Belgian label Crammed Discs released 2005's Congotronics. The 2010 follow-up Assume Crash Position adds electric guitar and bass to the mix, providing a more lucid realization of the band's sound. Easing up on the thumb-piano distortion also helps Assume keep the focus on Konono's mastery of extended, highly repetitive grooves and joyous melodies, balancing the fascinating textural qualities with a relentless rhythmic surge.