The Portugal-based Buraka Som Sistema project started out as a collective of smart producers looking to delve into the massive umbrella of pop music and now the experiment has blossomed into a unified band. They spent much of their recent time relentlessly touring in support of their successful debut, Black Diamond, and now after a much-needed incorporation of new sounds, they offer their latest release, Komba.
A Komba is an Angolan religious ritual where friends and family gather, seven days after the passing of a loved one, to celebrate their life. Everyone shares in the recently deceased’s favorite foods, they play his or her’s favorite music and sing along and everyone drinks away the bittersweet jubilation. While it’s something many cultures rejoice in, in some shape or form, to have a celebration where perhaps your finest moment is after your death, Buraka Som Sistema use it as inspiration to never allow life to be taken for granted. The spirit of Komba is definitely one of festivity and with the music blinding with diversity and vigor, it’s a declaration for all to exult in.
The songs on Komba don’t combine the cohesive sound one would assume a tenured band could create; instead Buraka Som Sistema infuse their music with a clash of styles and genres for a myriad of songs. On lead single “(We Stay) Up All Night”, the band reduces the percussion to a tapping drum before tightening the reigns with a synth combination set against the backdrop of staying up all night. There are some attempts at playful banter here and there but the focus remains on the intensity of the song to serve as something heard in a dancefloor-crazed club. Elsewhere, on the worldly touches of “Candonga,” the band demonstrates their ability at multi-versed, multi-language dances. The song acts as a carnival of high-speed drums and rhythms and with a chanting presence throughout, it’s an overwhelming exposure into mysterious sounds.
The band met with all of their music ready to perform for each other in hopes of piecing together another winning album. Remaining steadfast in wanting to fulfill everyone’s requests, they continued to record and produce the music together, as it came along. The opening ominous style of “Eskeleto” reveals a dubstep demeanor somewhat similar to The Bug during the London Zoo era. The electronic blurs and beats are an interesting choice to begin the album, especially with the self-titled song that follows. “Komba” begins with a marching snare before we’re politely introduced to the reason for the party with an explanation of the aforementioned ritual. The song itself is a direct embodiment of what the album represents: moving electronics at the hold of creative producers and musicians willing to take bold risks. And through its eleven songs Komba is exactly what we all need from time to time: a hopeful rejoicing in life itself.