Review | Songlines

Iboto Ngenge

Top of the World

Rating: ★★★★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details


Ngwaka Son Systéme


Eck Echo


A fine balance of danceable music which pushes the boat out sonically and a sound firmly rooted in Congolese rumba and soukous that doesn’t feel overly retro, Iboto Ngenge is definitely an impressive achievement for the eight piece’s first record.

No surprise, with two members, Bom’s Bomolo and Love Lokombe, being veterans of the band KOKOKO! – yet this is not wholly responsible for the quality of this album. The raw energy is amplified by the MCs Bebe Boomastyl and Héritier Lakala, as heard on the track, ‘Lakala’. Flurries of words in Lingala are punctuated by chanting and coarsely shouted stanzas, bouncing playfully around punchy beats. Between distorted bass and euphoric ululations, many tracks, such as ‘Zanga Mbongo’ are imbued with an invigorating cacophony which harks to the ritualistic and trance-inducing musics native to Congo and which have impacted many of the styles that have blossomed throughout the country’s history.

‘Zanga Mbongo’ (There is No Money) waxes on the dignity that can be found in scarcity, a powerful message which is reflected in jubilant open harmonies, and clean, sparkling guitar riffs recalling the timbre of legendary Congolese guitarist, Dr Nico.

The last two tracks take us onto the contemporary global dancefloor, with remixes that push the rhythms to a different plane, ready to induce whole different kinds of trance states.

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