JFK - Nganga
JFK is a solo project of Anthony Di Franco of RAMLEH/SKULLFLOWER/AX. In 1987 JFK released their first album on Broken Flag. In 2017 JFK release their first full-length album on Chondritic Sound.
"In Cuba, the term nganga refers to a certain creation made with an iron cauldron into which several items (such as bones and sticks) are placed. It also refers to the spirit of the dead that resides there. In Palo, it refers to an iron cauldron used to imprison evil spirits using chains, padlocks, knives, etc., which can be used for black magic."
The Edward Humes book "Buried Secrets", about the Matamoros murder case and activities of "El Padrino de Matamoros" Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo, inspired the title. In Constanzo’s macabre religious practice animal and even human sacrifice was permissible, and when the victims soul passes in fear and confusion it is captured in the Nganga and wedded to the sorcerers’ will - he is then able to control and direct the vengeful souls of the dead to his own ends; a savage and terrible theology.
For Di Franco, the implication is obvious - wielding the fear and confusion of souls who have passed on, this energy could be channeled not by a magical adept, but into the types of chaos and destruction we see in the modern world - mass extinction events, bombings, terrorist attacks. Perhaps Di Franco himself has managed to harness these energies into sound, as he states "I wanted each of the tracks to have its own separate identity, like invocations of different spiritual entities clashing together in the cauldron. The entities have different characters: some are malevolent, some exultant, some beatific. I will admit that I haven’t always felt in complete control of the forces generated through this music."
Present here are the dense metallic tones characteristic of Di Franco’s earlier AX pieces, constantly changing and shifting between crushingly oppressive and blissful overtones. These shards of sound spin seemingly out of control, at times kept in place with the assistance of staccato thuds, or the occasional blast of machine-gun rhythms. The pieces fall where they may throughout most of the album, a caustic and dangerous creation. As the record draws to a close, the sounds of distress and collapse are relieved by a choir-like transformation, smothered under layers of distorted metal and synth. This is followed by an almost devotional organ drone, but in this context it still manages to evoke the sinister - the proud architect of decay, surveying the results of their labor.
Edition of 300 copies black vinyl