How to make dance music from recycled scrap and junk tech
Fat Planet is your weekly ticket to a big world of music on Double J, every Wednesday at 8pm.
Presenter Stu Buchanan spins through a few recent standouts, from punk junk out of the Congo to retro sci-fi from Mumbai.
Kokoko! – ‘Tokoliana’ (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Kokoko! from Kinshasa take a genuinely punk approach to creating dance music, using instruments made from recycled scrap material and junk machinery.
The seven-piece describe their sound as “tekno kintueni”, which translates as “sounds of the town”. It’s a name that fits perfectly, given they are playing home-made instruments made from discarded objects they found scattered around the streets.
Their gear includes a one string guitar, a typewriter drum machine, and a harp made of wires and coffee cans strewn across a giant wooden structure.
Combo Chimbita – ‘Ampárame’ (Colombia / U.S.)
Combo Chimbita are a New York four piece led by led by the amazing Colombian vocalist Carolina Oliveros, delivering a true synthesis of Caribbean, South America and African sounds.
On their debut album, you can hear Mexican cumbia, kompa from Haiti, reggae from Jamaica, funaná from Cape Verde, all blended together with slices of psych-funk and garage rock.
Having jammed in their home neighbourhood of Brooklyn for many years, they kickstarted the Combo Chimbita project last year, embarking on a ‘tropical futurist’ sound that draws directly from their shared heritage.
Sid Vashi – 'Ghost Don't Follow Me' (India)
It takes a brave artist to dabble in the lost art of the concept album in this day and age. Surprisingly, Indian producer Sid Vashi not only pulls it off, he scores bonus points for delivering it alongside a mind-blowing series of retro sci-fi fantasy art, spread across his social channels.
The composer and multi-instrumentalist recently dropped the sample-drenched album ‘Azuma Kazuma’, about a space traveller trying to desperately make their way back to Earth. The galactic adventure comes complete with field recordings, psychedelic electronics, wild percussion and guest vocals from local collaborators.
The Heliocentrics – ‘Made Of The Sun’ (England / Slovakia)
If you’re a fan of DJ Shadow, you’ll be very familiar with The Heliocentrics as the backbone of his 2006 album The Outsider.
This hugely prolific London band have also collaborated with a diverse range of artists from Mulatu Astake to Gaslamp Killer, and earn their global stripes by calling on Slovakian vocalist Barbora Patkova for their new album, ‘World Of Masks’.
It’s a marriage made in multi-coloured heaven, with Barbora’s vocal flights proving to be more than a match for the band’s mind-altering excursions into music’s outer limits.
Diron Animal – ‘Don't Stop’ (Angola)
Diron is the lead singer of well-known Angolan / Portuguese band Throes + The Shine, who, over the course of three albums, threw together two seemingly incongruous genres, rock and kuduro.
The frenetic carnival-sampling beats that underpinned kudoro have been around for decades, but had a wider breakthrough in the ‘00s when artists such as Baraka Som Sistema and Frederique Galliano championed the sound.
With vocals in three languages – Portuguese, English and the Angolan dialect of Kimbundu – Diron is breaking out on his own for his debut album ‘Alone’ - which fuses contemporary electronics with traditional African music, in a call back to the roots of kuduro.