WaqWaq Kingdom – Dokkoisho (Phantom Limb)

WaqWaq Kingdom – Dokkoisho (Phantom Limb)

The ever-eclectic WaqWaq Kingdom return with EP Dokkoisho, once again swirling Jamaican dancehall, African polyrhythms, 8-bit techno and so much more into a heady mix.

WaqWaq KingdomArtist: WaqWaq Kingdom
Tracks: Dokkoisho
Label: Phantom Limb
Released: 18 September 2020
Find it: Spotify | Bandcamp

The term ‘world music’ has always made me a little bit uncomfortable. It smacks just a bit too much of a colonial era marketplace with ‘strange curios from exotic lands’ for sale; it feels just a tad like saying our music is important enough to be divided into genres, and everything from – or indeed influenced by – music from outside of a simple western paradigm need not be paid any more attention than what is in essence, to me, one step away from calling a track ‘foreign sounding’. Sure it’s not really inherently evil, and there are far greater racial injustices to be on a soapbox about, but if anything it’s less the cultural insensitivity that I dislike and more so the sheer laziness of such a term.

This is pertinent to the object of today’s review, new EP Dokkoisho from self-proclaimed ‘psychedelic Nabe hot pot’ sounding duo WaqWaq Kingdom. Right off the bat it becomes apparent that the pair have little trouble shattering the implicit barriers presented by terms like ‘world music’ and will gleefully incorporate elements of music both modern and historical, local and global, and perhaps it’s because of their background: they hail from Japan, have spent time living in the UK, and now operate out of Germany. You’d be remiss, however, to assume that these are the only places with profound influence on the sound of WaqWaq Kingdom.

It would be incredibly difficult for me to attempt to pin a single, or even a handful of genres onto just one song from Dokkoisho – let alone the whole 20 minute affair – but I can point to a veritable smorgasbord of sounds that influence the energetic and effortlessly eclectic mix on display. Broadly each cut serves as a catchy banging dance track led often by stabbing synths with pounding dancefloor-friendly beats and breaks, but to say simply this would be doing a cruel disservice to the psychedelic and shamanic elements manifesting through tribal polyrhythmics and thumping techno fusions offered by tracks like Don’t Be A Zombie, or the video game-esque chiptune segments that often help to underpin the genre-bending craziness occurring in parallel such as in Relax in Chaos. There’s even trance-inducing pitched up nightcore style vocals reminiscent of modern favourite genre-benders 100 gecs.

Ever versatile though, Dokkoisho isn’t content with just being wholly focused on super stimulating upbeat bangers that make me feel like I’m hearing a whole spectrum of colour at once, and at times displays a calmly progressive attitude, happily transitioning into low-key soft soundscapes of synthesiser for the outro to the otherwise characteristically lively Mr Two Face.

What WaqWaq Kingdom present on this EP is, in a word, hyperactive. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable romp across more genres than I’d ordinarily get through in even the most disparate of playlists, and yet somehow gives off cohesion to the degree that there is a distinctive sound to the project, a clear identity that I’m acutely aware I haven’t been able to pin down with words. I can only recommend you hear for yourself the unique blend of styles reaching throughout time and all around the globe Dokkoisho has to offer.

Find WaqWaq Kingdom: Spotify | Facebook | Instagram
We featured WaqWaq Kingdom’s 2019 album Essaka Hoisa on our end of year list – read what we said here.

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