Konono No. 1 started off as a group playing traditional music of their native Congo, Africa, decided to experiment with electronics to amplify their sound, and then things got weird. Most African music is either acoustic traditional, or slick modern pop, but Konono No. 1 (are there more?) have a hard, noisy sound and berserk energy level the likes of which I've never heard before. The poor but resourceful crew cobbled together home-made microphones and speakers, resulting in a distortion-drenched sound, and fashioned percussion instruments out of pots, pans, and auto parts, as can be seen on the Crammed Disk Records website. The traditional instrument the thumb-piano is hand-held - small metal rods are plucked with the thumb to go "boing" - but when played loud and distorted sound more like an electric guitar. Songs like "Lufuala Ndonga" come off like a band of witch doctors playing Ministry covers. (Three minutes in the fun really starts.)
Ears stopped ringing? Then check out "Paradiso," which answers the question: What would it sound like if Carlos Santana took speed and was limited to only 8 notes?