Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Konono No 1: Live at Couleur Cafe [Crammed Discs, 2007]
Oddly, this Brussels-recorded "mini-album" lasts six minutes longer than 2004's presumably full-length Kinshasa-recorded debut and repeats only two of its songs. Not that songs mean much with such a sound- and rhythm-driven crew--certainly less than the professionalism they've gained since Vincent Kenis lured them from obscurity or retirement early in the decade. Stepped-up force, drive and pace render it the most intense of the three extant Congosonics showcases--the one I'll play when I crave their paleo-futurist fusion of village dance-trance and hand-crafted electronic distortion. The limits of that fusion will be tested by the 2008 album for which this is said to be a placeholder. See them live while you can. A-