Video for Cociage - youtu.be/NtCWDoYtExQ
Living between France and Uganda, French-Ghanaian vocalist Pö possesses a unique perspective that shapes and deepens her artistic expression. "Cociage" is her incendiary debut release, and showcases a confident hybridization of vastly different sounds, from rap and noise to ambient and traditional folk. A member of electronic pop duo Poko Poko alongside Congolese producer Rey Sapienz, Pö creates her enveloping soundscapes almost exclusively with her voice. Looping it into hallucinatory textures, she juxtaposes transcendent shimmers with raspy, post-punk bulletins and quick-fire industrial rhythms.
Opening track 'The Reaping' crashes into the frame with machine-strength kick drums that vibrate against Pö's spiraling ritual chants. It's her voice that holds everything together, looping and soaring with a level of intensity that can break down borders. The album's title track is even more jagged, highlighting Pö's assertive chants that punctuate pounding, distorted drums, sounding like a call to action primed to resonate through time itself. Hard to place sonically, it's music that's rooted in performance and improvisation, with as many thematic links to West African pop and chanson as there are to DIY noise and experimental electronics.
It's not all pulverizing intensity either. Pö's sensitive side emerges on 'Over The Clouds', a restrained mantra that sublimes her voice into ethereal pads and breathy, reverberating coos. Sounding like an even more supernatural take on Grouper's faded soundscapes, it's psychedelic new age music seen through a Pan-African lens, far away from the self-mythologizing West Coast private press scene. 'Fuck Jungle' meanwhile flips into a completely different gear, corrupting Pö's voice into an alien gurgle and layering it over scorched earth synths and siren blasts.
With "Cociage" Pö has defined a musical language that's steeped in cross-cultural history but feels frighteningly new. Urgent, political and defiant at every turn, it's an album that takes a megaphone and hotwires it, sending out a message that resonates on a spiritual level.