1: 24 January 2019
In the mind’s eye, 7 Directions is a gigantic wheel. It spins at such a pace that a familiar optical illusion starts to take place: a much slower rotation borne from within the cyclical blur. Two different speeds of time merged into one. I’m led into the margin between that rumbling rhythmic drive and the hallucinatory synthesiser smear, the latter like a hand dragging a cloud across a dimming sky, the former like stones of various sizes arranged into beautiful patterns. The tumbling smack of communal bodily dexterity; the trembling soar of inner spiritual possibility. Holding both in my mind simultaneously is hard, and I can only truly concentrate on one at a time. That is – unless I let the powers of scrutiny run lax, and allow 7 Directions to pour in while my senses are soft.
In this state I find my attention drifting toward the edges, where the soft electronic tones seem to warble and perish, rippling as though witnessed through waves of extreme heat, pulled into ambiguity by echo. I still feel the pulsations of those Congolese percussive polyrhythms somewhere beneath, pushing me upward, blissfully insistent in their repetition (or deceptive lack thereof). Streams of energy that levitate at the margins of life, bristling at the periphery of both awareness and human understanding, as non-corporeal forces offering glimpses of a reality beyond this one. I’m aware that the record is founded upon Nkisi’s interest in African Cosmology (particularly the writings of scholar Dr Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau), and no doubt informed by her pursuit of the possibilities of psychoacoustics: two energies that pull my listening beyond the mere receipt of sound, and toward a total and utter enswathing of body and mind. Where will it take me from here?
The first track hit me hard today. As an opener, it’s perfect – expectant, wide open like curtains pulled back, beckoning energy into the empty space…the voice like a tannoy announcement ricocheting off immaculate marble walls, the tambourine quivering like a part of the train mechanism rattling loose…the drums in gallop, with tiny rumbles tucked under the main thumps of emphasis…the synthesiser like a electric piano from an 80s ballad, albeit melted down and poured into two glistening pools (one to the left, one to the right). It aligns me with the infinite whirl of 7 Directions, and helps me understand the music as this lush, singular process of becoming – a powerful, yet weightless evocation of the journey-as-endpoint, or a train tilting upward and leaving the tracks behind, churning its way toward the sun.