Powerful ritualistic sonics.

NKISI is the alias of Melika Ngombe Kolongo, a DJ-producer and live act born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in Leuven, Belgium. Through her kinetic live performances and releases—which have taken her across the world and landed on labels including Warp’s Arcola imprint, Germany’s Climate of Fear, and Lee Gamble‘s UIQ, where she released her debut album, 7 Directions in 2019—deliver intense, powerful sonics influenced by ancient African rhythms and experimental improvisation.

Her journey towards electronic music began in photography, before she became dissatisfied with the visually dominated society and its perpetuation of stereotypes, leading her to seek a different form of expression—one rooted in emotional and collective experiences. “Through cross-rhythm and trance-inducing technologies, dancefloors become portals for collective communion and connection with the higher dimensions of sound and our environments,” she says. In 2015, NKISI also co-founded NON WORLDWIDE, an experimental record label, radical art project, and social network that serves as a platform for African and African diaspora musicians. For this week’s XLR8R podcast, she has delivered a studio mix of diverse rhythmic landscapes—a collection of her latest sonic obsessions. As with any NKISI set, you can expect trance-inducing rhythms, doomy synth, gabber beats, and an electrifying energy, and this mix is no different. Press play for just over an hour of relentlessly experimental electronics.

01. What have you been up to recently?
Lately, I’ve been immersed in several exciting projects, creating new music and exploring new ways of performing music through ritual performances.

02. What have you been listening to?
At the moment, I’m captivated by ethnographic recordings and sound recordings from the early 1900s to 1970s, particularly indigenous ritual music from various cultures. The recording techniques and the profound musical expressions captured during these ceremonies resonate deeply with me.

03. Where did you record this mix?
I recorded this mix in Berlin.

04. How did you go about choosing the tracks?
The track selection was intuitive, driven by my current sonic obsessions and a desire to explore rhythmic textures and how they influence emotional states.

05. What can the listener expect?
Ritual sonic storytelling, rhythmic trance, a mix that traverses diverse rhythmic landscapes through time, space, and the cosmos.

06. What’s next on your horizon?
Looking ahead, I’m excited to deepen my research into the interrelations between the ethnographic sonic archives, and experimental electronic music, some new music and rituals.

XLR8R Subscribers can download the podcast below. If you’re not an XLR8R subscriber, you can read more about it and subscribe here.

Tracklisting

01. Art of Primitive Sound “The Dance of Leaves” (Hic Sunt Leones)
02. Mala “Conference” (DMZ)
03. P.A.L “Crash the Party” (ANT-ZEN)
04. NKISI “Unknown” (Unreleased)
05. Unit Moebius “Binky Boy” (Bunker Records)
06. Pornotanz “CYSEX” (GATE Edit) (New Zone)
07. Archives of Benin Traditional music
08. Solar Sounds Processed by A. Kosovichev (NASA)
09. Melly “Skip Fire” (Where to Now?)
10. Aquila “Escape” (Undefined Recordings)
11. Music for Ongo Ensemble “Ndjradje Ba” (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)
12. Hott (I-F) “Radio Silence” (Reference Analogue Audio)
13. Laura Grabb “Cylindrical” (IST Records)
14. Mutant Voice “So We Dance” (Self-released)
15. Musiques Dahoméennes “Music of Mahi People” (Ocora)
16. BS1 “Untitled” (Bunker records)
17. bRz “The epic adventures of slow burning particles morphing into another dimension” (Self-Released)
18. Nkisi “Unknown” (Unreleased)
19. Storm “Helical” (Djax Records)
20. Hudba Arabského Orientu a Severní Afriky, Egypt “Raks Nawaem Dance” (Supraphon)
21. Curley & Unit Moebius “Axe Breaker” (Bunker Records)
22. Papé Nziengui “Rite Bwiti” (Self-Released)
23. Michael Prime “Daubentons bats feeding over ponds at Priory Gardens, Orpington” (Povertech Industries)





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