West Philly electronic soundscaper Kilamanzego just released a new song, “the edge of twilight,” a collaboration with Atlanta’s Skullkid. The song is already attracting attention on Kilamanzego’s Soundcloud and once again their electronic collage of dance beats, eclectic samples, and masterfully layered sound has made for another fan favorite. Over the past year, Kilamanzego has been releasing their own signature brand of unique beats that combine their history as a instrumentalist, punk band member, and music obsessive. They are devoted to their sound and dive into every track with laser focus. “the edge of twilight” is no exception. Continue reading →
I’m a sucker for hyper-specific genre names when I’m searching the internet for new music, so seeing that Kilamanzego tagged several of their recent tracks as “kalimba core” warms my heart.
For sure, it’s a reference to a song: this spring, the experimental electronic musician from West Philadelphia released an enchanting piece of music called “Picking My Kalimba From A Distance.” But “kalimba core” also works as a summary of their mission statement. Kila’s music is rooted in house, trance, dubstep, and ambient electronic styles, but draws influence from a variety of African sounds as well. Listen and you’ll hear Congolese rhythmic intricacies, highlife vocal samples, and that titular kalimba and its melodic leads — also known as the mbira (or colloquially as the thumb piano), it is an instrument with origins in central African countries.
Primarily, Kilamanzego’s music is indented to rock parties with high-energy beats — they’re part of the smth savant collective with MadamData and others, which organizes the backyardbxss event series — but they also look to push the possibilities of what those beats can sound like, merging Kila’s Ghanaian’s heritage with their punk rock roots and experimental spirit. Continue reading →
Philly audio collager and beatmaker Kilamanzego recently made her debut on the Amsterdam-based label / collective ZenSupremecy with a new track called “Myth of the Groove.” Opening with spacious beats and haunting atmospheres in line with a vintage Aphex Twin joint, Kila kicks it into gear at the 40 second mark with an 8-bit melody, alluring pops and synthesizer moans, and an occasional rhythmic “AYYYE” interjection. It’s a 2 minute 40 second jam that brings you up in the same breath as it mellows your mind. Continue reading →
If you’ve ever caught Philly rapper Tierra Whack in concert, you probably walked away with the hook to “Toe Jam” rooted in your noggin; “CRACK KILLS IF IT DON’T GETCHA WHACK WILL.” The song had the same effect on Philadelphia soundscaper and beatmaker Kilamanzego, who chopped up the hook and folded it into her latest musical collage, “red light green light.” Continue reading →
From playing bass/guitar in various hardcore punk rock bands to entering the trap world, Philly’s Kilamanzego, has gone beyond the boundaries of genre with her unprecedented skills behind the screen. Much of mainstream trap is cookie-cutter and can be created with just a simple formula. Kila takes a unique approach in order to create sounds that provoke your senses and leave you in a trance-like state. By going against the grain, Kila has established herself as one of the most creative musical minds in Philly. Continue reading →
On Friday, Get Better Records announced the full lineup for their annual festival, Get Better Fest, set to take place the first weekend of May this year. The full lineup features artists Strawberry Runners, Mannequin Pussy, Kilamanzego, Whelmed, Augusta Koch (of Cayetana) among many more. Continue reading →
From the opening notes on “Picking My Kalimba from a Distance” with its bright, high-pitched samples and tribal stutter-step, the listener can tell that they’re not just in the presence of a beat-maker: they’re witnessing magic by Philly’s Kilamanzego.
Imagine a dusty warehouse in West Philadelphia, stocked to the brim with old, rusting pianos, pitbulls with mange and orange bandanas, and a whole lotta white people wearing black clothes and rocking dreadlocks. This was the scene when I first heard Kilamanzego cast auditory spells, lifting the crowd with euphoric organ swells only to pummel them with roaring bass drop after bass drop. That night, Kilamanzego — armed with Ableton Live triggered from a laptop and an infectious energy — wasn’t just playing a beat set; they were opening portals to realms from which I don’t think I’ve ever returned. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying: that sounds like a lot of music guy talk, and the big lofty words volleyed about to describe what’s being thrown down don’t impress you. The thing is, while that performance might have been a welcome surprise — that so much powerful, trance inducing sound could be conjured by a petit yet tough former hardcore punk, black girl in a west Philly punk rock basement — Kilamanzego’s next performance I witnessed? It was a revelation. There is no doubt that we are dealing with one of Philly’s most creative musical minds.
And for Kila, it’s a long time coming. Kilamanzego has created a tightly wound catalog of entrancing beats, mini-séances that invoke both their time spent toiling in Philly’s underground and their Ghanaian roots. At once tribal and atmospheric, Kilamanzego has etched new sounds on the beat-based landscape. With their series backyardbxss that they curate as part of the smth savant collective, they’ve helped cultivate a movement that bridges scenes and communities in the spirit of Hip Hop. For Kilamanzego though, that spirit doesn’t seem to want to be tamed. With a hypnotic new single called “Stay Floated In The Tribe” out this week and upcoming shows including Get Better Fest at the First Unitarian Church, we sat down with Kila to discuss beats, life, and sonic ritual texture. Continue reading →
Philly experimental electronic artist Kilamanzego just dropped a new single “picking my kalimba from a distance.” First of all, I love this; this song is a weird, magic, dope blend of alluring synths, minimal percussion, electronic noises, and bass that you feel as much as you hear. The song takes you on a ride as it progresses, adding and subtracting layers before a graceful fadeout. Soundcloud user Love Junior encapsulated my thoughts on the song with the comment “You a weird and talented mf. Love this.” Continue reading →
Electronic artist Madam Data paired up with beatmaker Kilamanzego to bring some old tracks to life in the form of the new split EP Like Daggers. The split is the debut release from smth savant, a local artist collective and DIY record label. Both artists dug through old material to put together the four track collection, writing on bandcamp that “Like Daggers is a fucked up mish mash of wonky, experimental, and ambient bleep bloops representing this mess of a world we live in and the struggles K and MD have faced in the name of creativity.” Continue reading →
“THERE’S ALWAYS MORE”– Hermit High Priestess on trauma, eclecticism, and the hope of being understood
The idea of “shattering the binary” is often a lofty one in music, especially in genres and scenes as insular as punk rock. On the one hand, punk has a reputation for being unabashedly free, artistically daring, its practitioners eschewing constraint and announcing themselves as “other.” Yet if you dig beneath the surface — past the bullet belts, gas station attendant jackets, and spiked hair — you’ll find a uniform orthodoxy that often holds the genre in stasis.
Hermit High Priestess are two wandering spirits informed by an idealistic re-imagining of punk rock, where magic and incantation are as much a part of the punk rock process as are cryptically scrawled black t-shirts. Dani and Anna play music that is heavy, yet still somehow heavenly, forgoing the three-chord stomp and bash of yet another Ramones or Discharge reincarnation. Instead their music, like on “The Rake’s Wave”, a standout track on their forthcoming EP, infuses warm strings, mischievous bass and xylophone lines, along with Anna’s determined, heartfelt vocals ruminating on the necromantic nature of systems that corrupt our dreams.
It’s almost as if the still-expanding underground music scene struggles to make room for HHP, yet still they persist, turning up on bills with aggressive punk bands, spoken word artists, R&B acts, metal bands — when you’re an ethereal, romantic, tribal folk band evoking Dead Can Dance, and Tori Amos as much as more obscure Crass Records bands like Tappi Tikarras, there’s a certain amount of work you’ve got to be prepared to do to find your tribe. Although they’ve yet to be embraced fully, HPP, with their latest work, are ready to start the ritual to affect the change they want to see in their world — non-binary, brilliant, and free of the trappings of genre.
We sat down and talked with them on the precipice of their latest release to find out what conversations they were having as a band that led them to create such rousing work. Continue reading →