KOKOKO! share a new Single & announce additional tour dates

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Pioneers of Kinshasa’s sonic revolution, KOKOKO! today share a brand new single. ‘Bazo Banga‘ follows recent singles “Mokili” and “Salaka Bien”, and is taken from their highly anticipated second album, BUTU, to be released July 5th.

Pioneers of Kinshasa’s sonic revolution, KOKOKO! today share a brand new single. “Bazo Banga” follows recent singles “Mokili” and “Salaka Bien”, and is taken from their highly anticipated second album, BUTU, to be released July 5 via Transgressive Records. Pre-order it here.

In addition to the new single, KOKOKO! announce a Rough Trade Instore tour. They’ll visit all Rough Trade shops for a live performance and signing in the week leading up to album release.

On the new track the group says, “‘Bazo Bango’ means ‘they are scared’, a chant sung in crowds to let go of frustration. A loopy driving electric bass line carries the heavy electronic rhythm foundation to support the chant.”

To accompany the track is a video by director duo Deadhorses, they add, “At the heart of everything we wanted to create a hyper-real edit that overloads the senses visually as KOKOKO! did sonically. We were very inspired to learn of the bands industrious use of scrapyard materials and refuse parts to make music instruments and create such a unique sound. So with this in mind we developed the concept around rubbish and junk flying around the city constantly and really just make it as gritty as possible. We were given a handful of short 360p clips and performance pieces from the band that they had shot themselves on their phones in Kinshasa. We did everything we could to change and alter the footage using a range of mixed media mechanisms from recording the footage off our laptops with half broken old school tape recorders and re exporting it with the timestamps and battery levels printed on. We want the edit to have a fierce propulsion and move through different media and aesthetics in a visceral way, we chewed up all the footage and spat it back out in every way we could. The result is hopefully an electric, eye-popping experience! It’s always great to see what you can do with limited resources and using whatever you can get and pushing it to the limit in post production.”

The Congolese city’s after-dark buzz was the inspiration behind BUTU, which means ‘the night’ in Lingala, and the experimental record dives deep into the heart of the chaotic place, celebrating the joyful and creative spirit of its inhabitants. With vocalist Makara Bianko at the helm and production from Xavier Thomas, AKA Débruit, this follow-up to Fongola finds the group channelling a more electronic, upbeat sound. BUTU is a replication of the frenetic feel of that dynamic nightlife – equipment being pushed to its limit, via saturated and distorted speakers, or the sonic push and pull of sounds after dark.

Taking field recordings from the nights and using “ready-made percussion” such as detergent bottles, the band fed the sounds through distortion to get closer to those night sounds. Album intro “Butu Ezo Ya” opens with the screech of car horns progressively pitched into harmony and the chatter of pedestrians. “Compared to Fongola, this album is intentionally way more intense, because it’s quite upbeat and quite full-on,” Thomas says. The record’s influences are also wider and span West Africa and South Africa, kuduro and kwaito and since Bianko’s global travel introduced him to new types of alternative electronic music and punk.

A track they’d played live but never recorded until now, “Mokili” expresses a sense of pride in going out there to make the world move alongside old house music references. “Salaka Bien” makes use of percussion created on heavy ceramic pots and pans, with Bianko’s lyrics firing up the audience with a sexual wink. “Motema Mabe” started off as an improvisation from Bianko, with him vocaling a looping rhythm and synths.

The band has a fiercely activist and political slant. The Democratic Republic of Congo continues to experience serious human rights violations, including mass killings in the context of armed conflict and inter-communal violence, a crackdown on dissent and ill-treatment of detainees. People from regions affected by armed conflict are particularly affected amid mass displacement and a deepening humanitarian crisis. The DRC’s wealth of natural resources are routinely taken advantage of by large tech companies, helping fuel conflict in the region.

Political protest using words carries a risk of imprisonment in the country, so street performers often work with their bodies and sounds to signal their critiques. With BUTU, KOKOKO! provide a resistant, punk-like energy, bottling the attitude of a generation and bringing their DRC block party alchemy to new global heights.

Tour dates – tickets here:
June 13th / Festineuch – Neuchatel (CH)
June 20th / La Cartonnerie – Reims (FR)
June 21st / Tauron Nowa Muzyka – Katowice (PL)
July 2nd / Rough Trade – Nottingham (UK)
July 3rd / Rough Trade – Liverpool (UK)
July 4th / Rough Trade – Bristol (UK)
July 5th / Rough Trade East – London (UK)
July 6th / Rough Trade West – London (UK)
July 25th / Latitude Festival – Suffolk (UK)
July 27th / Deer Shed – Topcliffe (UK)
August 2nd / Ponte D’Lima – Ponte D’Lima (PT)
August 3rd / Ortigia Sound – Ortigia (IT)
August 9th / Flow Festival – Helsinki (FI)
August 10th / Frigjort – Copenhaguen (DK)
Sept 25 / Melkweg – Amsterdam (NL)
Sept 26 / Petit Bain – Paris (FR)
Oct 1 / Village Underground – London (UK)
Oct 2 / Le Botanique – Brussels (BE)
Oct 3 / Gretchen – Berlin (DE)