Unearthed archival recordings blending traditional West African rhythm and vocals with experimental European electronics. Denis Mpunga was born in the Congo but relocated to the Belgian city of Liege with his family at age 13 and soon began playing Congolese-influenced percussive music with other like-minded local musicians. Paul K. (née Patrick Stas) was a ubiquitous force in the city’s experimental electronic scene, producing and playing in several outfits as well as running the Home Produkt imprint. Both well known in Belgium by 1980, the pair first collaborated on a soundtrack for a children’s animation company called CAMERA etc., compiled here as “Intermezzo I”, “Intermezzo II” & “Intermezzo III”, and continued to work together after that. Criola collects the duo’s experiments with Balafons, Senzas and Zither as well as Roland TB-303, TR-808 and Korg’s MS20 and MonoPoly synthesizers. The record veers from fairly straightforward warm acoustic African rhythms (“Veronica”, “What”) to sleek & immaculate synth compositions (the “Intermezzo” tracks), showcasing the broad range of influences on the duo’s craft. “Dos Niya” juxtaposes Mpunga’s Congolese singing and rhythm guitar against a cold electro post-punk beat. Music From Memory’s archival work continues to connect the dots between disparate musicians with vastly diverse disciplines and influences across several continents and generations, solidifying them as a buy-on-sight label and a Lab favorite.
- music label: Music From Memory 2017
reviewed by dj winyl destination 05/2017