Nok Cultural Ensemble – Njhyi (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 41:10 minutes | 445 MB | Genre: World
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © SA Recordings
Nok Cultural Ensemble is a new project from Atyap (Nigerian-British) musician Edward Wakili-Hick (Sons of Kemet, Steam Down, Kokoroko), a fluid and evolving collective, which features an impressive line up of Edward’s collaborators including; Onome Edgeworth (Kokoroko), Joseph Deenmamode (Mo Kolours), Dwayne Kilvington (Wonky Logic), Theon Cross, Sulyiman (Afrorack), Watusi87 (RU1 Fam), Zarak (Blue Alchemy), Niyabja aka Simeline Jean-Baptiste (DJ Noss), David Wehinm (Omah Lay, Ezra Collective) and Angel Bat Dawid.Nok Cultural Ensemble release their second single, from their upcoming record Njhyi. The latest single is named ‘Awakening’ and features Edward’s and Sons of Kemet collaborator, Theon Cross.
On the upcoming album Njhyi, the Nok Cultural Ensemble centres diverse Afro-diasporic percussive traditions. Glitching beats unfold on African timelines, expressed through free jazz sensibilities which extend the futuristic pulse of dub technologies.
The collective craft a visionary rhythmic continuum that tunes into living traditions stretching back to the ancient NOK civilisation, and reaches towards liberated futures. NCE foregrounds the diversity of black percussive music styles – from agbaja and apala, soca to bélé, sega, broken beat and beyond. In Wakili-Hick’s own words, they ‘celebrate percussion as a complete music’. Drawing on their own collective heritage – from Nigeria and Mauritius to St Kitt and the UK, the record platforms percussion ensembles as a vehicle for music making whilst centring afro-diasporic knowledge systems and cultures.
The project is the result of compositions, extended group improvisations where collaborators would reason about history and culture whilst experimenting with frequency and time. The relationships at the heart of NCE have been built over the years, coming up through the Tomorrow’s Warriors organisation, Sons of Kemet, Steam Down, Kokoroko and London’s jazz adjacent producer scenes.
Alongside the release of the album, NCE have partnered with Spitfire Audio to release‘ Tape Percussion’, a sample library made at the legendary Ariwa Studios.
“The music we love today – techno, drill, trap – none of this would exist without dub. With these sounds and this album, I wanted to celebrate that history and approach to sound”.— Edward Wakili-Hick, Nok Cultural Ensemble
NCE’s mission is to celebrate the diversity of global black percussive music styles and the cultures they emerge from. At the heart of this collection are 5 one-shot drum kits pulled from the explosive epicentre of London’s multi-faceted jazz scene. These include high-tuned, low-tuned, open-tone, electronic, and extended-hit kits—all deeply sampled with 3 dynamic layers and 3 round robins. Seven thousand kilometres away, we play through 6 one-shot patches of rarely-sampled African percussion, shakers, and bells—including the Kpanlogo, Ravann, Shekere, and Agogo.
Eight tempo-synced drum loops fuse contemporary jazz with African percussion, Caribbean rhythms, and dub-inspired warps. Each loop stems out on the keyboard, so you can play the full loop on a single key, or deconstruct it key-by-key for dramatic effect. The drama continues across 69 atmospheric scenes—cinematic loops that reach beyond rhythm, capturing the essential character of each instrument’s sound. Finally, we cut to 13 tonal warps, transforming percussive hits into tuned synths and pads—some dark, some bright, and some searing with chaos. Behind these sounds sits a range of premium FX and a bespoke warp signal processed live at Ariwa Studios by dub titans Mad Professor and Joe Ariwa.
1-01. Nok Cultural Ensemble – Njhyi (03:06)
1-02. Nok Cultural Ensemble – Awakening (06:18)
1-03. Nok Cultural Ensemble – Sang Awun (03:21)
1-04. Nok Cultural Ensemble – Ancestral Visions (04:00)
1-05. Nok Cultural Ensemble – Enlightenment (02:52)
1-06. Nok Cultural Ensemble – Lyet (03:37)
1-07. Nok Cultural Ensemble – Kyangma (05:39)
1-08. Nok Cultural Ensemble – Y.T.T.T. (05:04)
1-09. Nok Cultural Ensemble – Maroon Step (02:47)
1-10. Nok Cultural Ensemble – Nietatangwat (03:08)
1-11. Nok Cultural Ensemble – Communal Healing (01:13)