Over a year since the release of their exhilarating debut Could We Be More, Kokoroko present a new collection of remixes of tracks from their first album. The record brings together a dizzying, globe-spanning array of contemporary music’s most forward-thinking artists, each bringing their own unique identity to the project while maintaining the immersive sound-world of the original. Could We Be More Remixes is due 10th November 2023 via Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings.
All the remixers share a common approach with the band, filtering global influences and backgrounds through the lens of their hometown. As a result, each remix explores and stretches the core elements of the debut in different ways. Home-grown London talents Eun and Demae, both associates of the Touching Bass collective that sprouted from the same scene as Kokoroko, turn in a spaced-out version of ‘Tojo’ that manages to be introspective and driving at the same time, reminiscent of some of the best work on Moodymann’s imprints.
The talents of Could We Be More’s producer are called upon next. Miles James continues where ‘Something’s Going On’ left off, turning the synth-funk up several notches. To call anaiis’ version of ‘Home’ a remix would almost be an understatement. Anaiis uses the original as a launchpad, her soaring vocals taking the song’s sentiments to dizzying new heights. The toe-tapping Highlife groove of ‘Ewà Inú’ is twisted into a lurching Batida stepper by Vanyfox that skews expectations and stumbles the listener into a blissful trumpet-led ambient outro.This is followed by Washington-native dreamcastmoe’s take on the track. His version defies genre, scattering fragments of the original, soulful vocals and chords over a heavy 808 bass chug. ‘We Give Thanks (KeiyaA Remix)’ sees the Chicago-based multi-hyphenate mining the depths of the sparse skittering cyber-soul elements that were a feature of her own debut. Kokoroko’s organic vocals and instrumentation are tied down to a bedrock of icy drum machines, handclaps and electronics resulting in a scintillating frisson.
The final two artists on the record submit remixes along more traditional lines. Ash Lauryn and Stefan Ringer twist and reform the angelic vocals and Afrobeats sentiments of ‘Dide O’ into a driving deep house banger; the floating melodic refrain suspended over a rolling synth bass and propulsive drums. Finally, London producer of the moment Hagan does what he does best. In his hands, ‘War Dance’ transforms into a dark and moody afro-house dance floor weapon. Ominous pads, a monstrous bass-line and hectic percussion combine with the song’s fiery brass culminating into a climactic breakdown built around Sheila Maurice-Grey’s explosive trumpet solo.
Could We Be More was an ambitious and expansive album. Stretched out over 15 tracks, Kokoroko’s debut release wove together Afro-beat jam-outs, funk grooves, psychedelic flutters, brass stabs and soaring soul with dub-echo, astral electronics and introverted interludes. All combining to create an immersive experience evoking the band’s multi-faceted notions of home.
This is a beautiful sister release to Kokoroko’s Could We Be More. The remixes treat the source material with care but imbue them with a potent energy, strangely reminiscent of seeing the band perform live. This collection follows the album and achieves what few remix albums are able to; creating a headphone listening experience while at the same time drawing out the dance music elements for the club.
- Tojo (Eun Remix feat. Demae)
- Somethings Going On (Miles James Remix)
- Home (anaiis Remix)
- Ewà Inú (Vanyfox Remix)
- Ewà Inú (Dreamcastmoe's Smoked Out Remix)
- We Give Thanks (KeiyaA Remix)
- Dide O (Ash Lauryn & Stefan Ringer Remix)
- War Dance (Hagan Remix)