Peder Mannerfelt – ‘The Swedish Congo Record’ CD [Archives Intérieures]

Despite the record store acclaim it received I can’t help but feel like this one really went under the radar for a lot of cats. Inspired by a collection of 78’s, Roll The Dice member (and Swede) Peder Mannerfelt has replayed his own of versions 1930’s Congolese field-recordings, presenting the results in an incredible full length CD.

As far as I know Mannerfelt has never done anything like this before, and we’ve not come across much like it, at least not done this well. This is a really inspiring work, probably due to to Mannerfelt’s dedication to the craft and respect shown to the original artists. He’s not just sampled and flipped his record finds, nor has he phoned in one or two dedication tracks. The Swedish Congo Record is a complete release of twenty-four tracks tied together by a totally unique sound and spirit.

The whole album’s a melting pot of heady synths and flattened computer beats pushed in to structures better suited to field-recordings of tribal music. It’s scarily addictive, and best of all totally original. The melding of the two world isn’t overly obvious, and even without the brilliant tale of Mannerfelt’s two year quest to appreciatively tribute these African music traditions we’d likely be in awe of it.

But knowing the concept behind it gives us a nice view from the top of his focus along the way, and makes it all the better to get lost in.

Cracking record this, we highly suggest heading over to your local record store or the Archives Intérieures bandcamp asap to order some physical:

Peder Mannerfelt’s release for Archives Intérieures takes us back to Belgian Congo in the 1930’s.

This adventurous album finds its roots in a very obscure 78 rpm record, put together by Belgian filmmaker Armand Denis, who was one of the first Europeans to capture the incredible sounds of Central Congo. These recordings were published in 1950 as The Belgian Congo Records.

Mannerfelt is an avid collector of African tribal music. When he came across this record he was immediately intrigued by the complexity and rendition of these recordings of Congolese music. His initial idea was to use the original album as a sample source, but this concept was quickly abandoned and Peder decided to recreate the album using only synthesizers.

The Swedish Congo Record is first and foremost a thrilling, refreshing album. However, it is also an unintentional critique on a dark passage in Belgian history. The colonial times are marked by a violent, shameless exploration and exploitation of resources and people. On a humanitarian, political and social level a deep scar was left behind by this period of Western European Colonialism. Still now Western economic interests continue to influence the fate of central Africa. Simply sampling the original album could be seen as another way of colonising or disrespectful appropriation. However, by re-sculpting the album, reshaping its original musicality into a wild electronic universe of his own, Mannerfelt pays tribute to the traditional and folkloric meaning of the dances.

The nature of this tribal music pushed Mannerfelt to further explore his unique sense of rhythm he’s known for with Roll The Dice as well as with his solo work. The Swedish Congo Record also bears his signature way of combining skilful productions with a touch of humour, which results in a multi-faceted, daring album.