Pierre Kwenders: Global fusions in the name of Africa

SERvin’ Up! – w/c September 18, 2017

Pierre Kwenders – Makanda At The End Of Space, The Beginning Of Time
Madeline Kenney – Night Night At The First Landing
Lee Ranaldo – Electric Trim
Luna – A Sentimental Education
Blockhead – Funeral Balloons
Neil Young – Hitchhiker
Deer Tick – Deer Tick Volume & Volume 2
L.A Witch – L.A Witch
Freddie McKay – Picture On The Wall
Lali Puna – Two Windows


The return of Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo with his current band The Dust on a new album Electric Trim has him in typically fine form but also moving forward without shaking off the spectre of his former iconic outfit. His songs on Sonic Youth albums were usually the most brightly melodic as well as the most curiously surreal – two traits he continues with on Electric Trim with his trademark curling guitar lines and magnetic lyricism. That it sounds a little folkier, sweeter and reflective at times shouldn’t surprise long-time listeners, but Ranaldo’s journeying into electronic beats and textures might. In any case, this new development in Ranaldo’s sound works wholly in line with the foreboding, even apocalyptic side to his work so his headspace is still where it’s always been as well as staying true to a musical life shifting modes of expression.

Twenty-two year old Pierre Kwenders is based in Montreal but originally hails from the capital of the Republic of Congo, Kinshasa. His debut album Le Dernier Empereur Bantou caught the ear of Shabazz Palaces’ Tendai Maraire, who invited Kwenders to record the follow-up Makanda At The End Of Space, The Beginning Of Time in his Seattle studio. Kwenders works a modern sheen on traditional Congolese rumba with global fusions in weird, cool, spacey and funky ways that you simply can’t imagine until you hear it. Pooling together musicians of African heritage from Seattle, Montreal and Kinshasa makes for a momentous melting pot of ideas that further the coordinates for an unbreakable spirit deeply entwined with African displacement.

While not sci-fi dreaming like her comrade in American dream-pop Michele Zauner – aka Japanese Breakfast – Caifornian-baed Madeline Kenney shares with Zauner a love of the big vintage sounds from the 1950s that oozed melodrama and often held a heart of darkness close. Her debut album Night Night At The First Landing is produced by Chaz Bundick (we know him better as Toro Y Moi) who opts for contemporary echoes across Kenney’s songs to align with their modern day concerns. The result is a real treat.

Also, new tunes from Swamp Fat Jangles, Restless Leg, Moses Sumney, I Heart Hiroshima, The Do Yo Thangs and Demon Days.

Enjoy it all on 2SER,


Sunday 17th of September, 2017

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