Nkisi loads up a four-track cartridge of blistering hardstep gabba/techno for Arcola with The Dark Orchestra. With previous physical releases being cut across a near impossible to find whitelabel 12" for MW and contributions to co-NON Worldwide founder Chino Amobi's Paradiso (The Wire magazine's no. 1 album of 2017), The Dark Orchestra is set to be one of the most imperative charges from both Nkisi and the NON-faction yet.
This longtime coming 12" acts as a pinnacle high point for Nkisi's unique brand of hardcore, skilfully mixing the sounds of her devastating live sets and monthly DJ slot on NTS into four deadly dynamics that transport central and west African club sounds into a prism influence of Belgium gabber. It's all powered by her indispensable strength for crafting future-proofed club cuts that have seen her, Chino Amobi, Angel-Ho and the entire NON Worldwide collective become such a powerful force within the techno/electronic/hardcore diaspora.
From the word go, The Dark Orchestra draws an atmosphere that is near instantly cracked between the ambient adaptions yet it is also under the pressures of being torn apart by Nkisi's machine-gun assault of knife-edged snares and hammer-like kick drums, its magnitude sure to instantly knock all of your favourite hardcore techno producers to the floor. This unrelenting motion is then sent down a DNB wormhole that Ed Rush & Optical would proudly have conjured up back in 98'.
Violent Tendencies then steps up by projecting some flashcore strobes into the haunted synth frame that sets the wall like boundaries of The Dark Orchestra's world, sounding something like The Mover if he was ghosted in to produce a gloomcore nightmare had by Shangaan Electro. While on the other side of the mirror, G.E.O. sharpens the kick while it rebounds off the glassy surface of Nkisi's hard-trance pads, as ever building up the energy perfectly with ex-junglist don Beau Thomas' killer mastering job showing strong. Things close off with the aptly named Dark Noise where Nkisi lifts influence from the Hospital Productions techno of Vatican Shadow's most heavy gear with an explosive plethora of thunderdome percussion, not once letting the teeth cracking intensity of the 12" ease up for even a second.
In an endless ocean of critics and producers suffering the daily dose of terminally impressed dusty tape tekno and hauntology focused hardcore and jungle throwback 12"s, Nkisi's The Dark Orchestra is a glass of ice-cold water smashed across a scene that is in much need of a very serious wake-up call.