Fusing foreboding trance tones and barbed gabber beats with unhinged Afrocentric polyrhythms, Nkisi’s sonic practice is conceptually rich and intuitively hyper-modern. Informed by her exploratory research in psychoacoustics, a Belgian doomcore upbringing and her soft spot for Bantu-Kongo cosmology, this rule-breaking sonic sculptress plugs into many moving parts to carve out bold electronic interpolations.
Raised in the city of Leuven near Brussels, a young Nkisi developed a voracious appetite for her schoolmates’ gabber jams, as well as the Congolese guitar riffs that soundtracked the home. What pulled this eclectic sonic brew together was an affinity for improvised darkness and far-reaching rhythmic transgressions. Upon moving to London, she fully embraced these disparate pursuits, drawing attention via her monthly NTS radio show and releases on Doomcore Records, Rush Hour imprint MW and Warp offshoot Arcola. In 2015, she also cofounded the NON Worldwide art collective with peers Chino Amobi and Angel Ho to champion an array of voices from the African diaspora. 7 Directions, her just-released debut on Lee Gamble’s UIQ, continues her future-minded quest for an acoustic system that could overpower our culture’s ocular-centric rule. From buoyant to bulky, and tranquil to tempestuous, Nkisi charts brave new rhythmic frontiers, her satellites of skittered synths orbiting around a still-uninhabitable planet.
Known for translating the intensity of sonic rituals into high-octane and unfiltered DJ sets, skills she honed at genre-busting London night Endless, Nkisi debuts her thrillingly modern rhythmic flair and continent-spanning contortions at the festival in a live performance iteration.