Musically, this manifests in a captivating cross-talk of African rhythms, uncompromising European hard dance tropes, foreboding synth melodies and a relentless, galvanising energy, as harnessed for her increasingly kinetic live performances.
Nkisi is the pseudonym of Melika Ngombe Kolongo, whose activities as a producer, live musician, DJ and curator are channels for an ongoing inquiry into sound as a tool of communication beyond the purely lingual.
Born in Kinshasa and Belgian-raised, Nkisi is currently based in London. Having co-founded the NON WORLDWIDE collective alongside Chino Amobi and Angel-HO, and honed her sonically marauding DJ style at London's mythical Endless parties and through a monthly NTS residency, Nkisi's most complete statement as a solo artist came this year in the form of the 7 Directions LP for Lee Gamble's UIQ. This and follow-up EP ‘The Dark Orchestra’ (on Warp offshoot imprint Arcola) nailed Nkisi’s standout, polymorphous aesthetic, and has served as a blueprint for a live set that has resonated hard through landmark appearances at Unsound, Donau and Terraforma among others...alongside deeper explorations of the themes of her work and collaborations via residencies at Cafe OTO and Vooruit in Gent, and as a 2018 SHAPE Network alumni.
"Nkisi's music is guided by her research in psychoacoustics and Bantu cosmology. But it's also an authentic reflection of the artist herself, shaped by her experiences and unique personal history... its human element is what brings it to life" - Resident Advisor
With new material in the works and the development of Initiation, a radical and visceral interrogation of the AV show format in collaboration with visual artist Charlie Hope - not to mention Sènsa, a performance work inspired by Bantu cosmology developed alongside Paul Maheke - Nkisi's restless, inspiring multidisciplinary manoeuvres are reaching ever further and wider as 2020 beckons.
"She’s making connections – between people, across time and space, in a way that is resilient, sustainable, pleasurable, powerful" - The Quietus