With production that rivals that of modern dance floor fillers, entrancing composition, and fairly experimental techniques, Rey Sapienz's Hakuna Kulala is as classic as its inspirations. The vocals are less pop-oriented, and serve as another yet another melodic/rhythmic layer to play with, frequently switching between talking and rapping to singing and chanting, all heavily edited.
The album serves as a highly interesting glimpse into the music of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - specifically a genre known as Soukous. Soukous is heavily rooted in the 20th century Congolese rumba music, which spread throughout several Central/East African countries, and is actually somewhat of a misnomer. Having been broadcast throughout the Congo in the 30s and 40s, Cuban son (or son cubano) became highly popular with its people - Nigerian musician Segun Bucknor said of them and others, "Latin American music and our music is virtually the same." The word "soukous" itself is derivative of French "secouer" meaning "to shake", reflecting the dance-oriented moods of the music. As its own offshoot, it transitioned from acoustic instruments to increasingly analog and digital electronics in the 80s, having garnered a slowly-swelling scene in Paris. This in mind, Hakuna Kulala is invariably similar to many French house releases, with the only exception being its short length.
However, one might say this adds to its replayability - short, concise songs that leave you coming back for seconds can be quite the boon. Be it for the pleasant hooks, odd percussion, or simply a fascination with the style's development, it’s an entry that demands to be heard, and for good reason.
Released June 29, 2018.