IN CASE you hadn’t noticed, the sound of afrobeat is taking on a new dimension: riding on a surge of youthful energy; absorbing rap’s bite and electro’s drive; committed to the cutting edge but respectful of sources.
Rey Sapienz and his new collective The Congo Techno Ensemble look set to add their dynamic to this gathering momentum with the announcement of their first album, Na Zala Zala, which is due on July 16th via the supremely out-there, Kampala-based Nyege Nyege Tapes.
As a producer and rapper Sampienz has already released two name-drop mutant electronic dance EPs, Mushoro and Hakuna Kulala, so any new material is going to send turntablists spinning. To add to this anticipation, early evidence in the shape of the preview track, “Eza Makembo”, is a warning that the heat is only going to rise.
The track has all those afro-futurist exploratory Warp beat foundations but fuses these sensibilities with earthy rhythmic and vocal patterns sourced from a traditional starting point. There’s an intense energy, a dizzying switch of voices and a freshness that leaps out at you like the first time Congotronics hit the floors. This is one album release date that should not be missed.
Rey Sapienz & The Congo Techno Ensemble’s Na Zala Zala will be released on July 16th by Nyege Nyege Tapes digitally and on limited edition black and limited edition orange vinyl; you can secure your copy over at Bandcamp right now.