RADICALLY RE-RHYTHM YOUR SCORES
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Explosive afro-percussion meets dub and free jazz. On Tape Percussion, the Nok Cultural Ensemble centre diverse Afro-diasporic percussive traditions expressed through free jazz sensibilities and glitching beats, extending the futuristic pulse of dub technologies. This intuitive toolkit opens with 5 one-shot jazz kits and 6 one-shot African percussion patches, followed by Caribbean rhythms and dub-inspired warps over 8 drum loops, 69 atmospheric scenes, and 13 tonal, melodic warped presets — complemented by a range of in-built FX. Recorded to tape at the legendary Ariwa Studios, these sounds and textures thrum, crackle and crash with new possibilities for modern tracks and contemporary media scores.
Led by Edward Wakili-Hick, this collective of percussion prodigies are all leading lights playing across various genres underpinning London’s eclectic jazz and beat scenes.
Louis Rugg — Shift Quartz (0:00 / 1:25)
Oliver Patrice Weder — Taruga (feat. The Pool Project) (0:00 / 1:54)
Leo Wyatt — Waterfall (0:00 / 1:52)
CAIROXVI. — Trailer Music (0:00 / 0:50)
Andre Louis — The Potential for Anything (0:00 / 1:24)
NCE’s mission is to celebrate the diversity of global black percussive music styles and the cultures they emerge from. At the heart of this collection are 5 one-shot drum kits pulled from the explosive epicentre of London’s multi-faceted jazz scene. These include high-tuned, low-tuned, open-tone, electronic, and extended-hit kits—all deeply sampled with 3 dynamic layers and 3 round robins.
Seven thousand kilometres away, we play through 6 one-shot patches of rarely-sampled African percussion, shakers, and bells—including the Kpanlogo, Ravann, Shekere, and Agogo.
Eight tempo-synced drum loops fuse contemporary jazz with African percussion, Caribbean rhythms, and dub-inspired warps. Each loop stems out on the keyboard, so you can play the full loop on a single key, or deconstruct it key-by-key for dramatic effect. The drama continues across 69 atmospheric scenes—cinematic loops that reach beyond rhythm, capturing the essential character of each instrument’s sound.
Finally, we cut to 13 tonal warps, transforming percussive hits into tuned synths and pads—some dark, some bright, and some searing with chaos. Behind these sounds sits a range of premium FX and a bespoke warp signal processed live at Ariwa Studios by dub titans Mad Professor and Joe Ariwa.
A renowned hub of dub and reggae music, Wakili-Hick worked in both rooms at Ariwa Studios to fuse together analogue and digital elements. He recorded live and straight to tape in Room One - the Mad Professor's room, with its analogue kit. Those tape takes were then transferred to the digital plane in Room Two, run by Joe Ariwa (the Mad Professor’s son). In creating these samples and working on the album, NCE drew on the legacy of the ingenious dub rhythmic scientists that changed the face of music – including figures such as the late Lee Scratch Perry.
Our Nok Cultural Ensemble collaboration offers two contemporary elements: an intuitive sample library, offering producers and composers the artists’ sound palette and unique instrumentation to facilitate and inspire their own work, and the collective’s debut LP release, Njhyi, a result of extended group improvisations on acoustic and electronic percussion, featuring an exciting range of guest appearances. The limited edition LP is available to pre-order via the SA Recordings website.
The Nok Cultural Ensemble (NCE) was formed in 2017 by Edward Wakili-Hick (Sons of Kemet, Steam Down), with the sample library featuring fellow members Onome Edgeworth (Kokoroko) and Joseph Deenmamode (Mo Kolours). Together, the NCE crafts a visionary rhythmic continuum that tunes into living traditions stretching back through time to ancient civilisations, and calls in liberated futures through experimental frequencies and propulsive, frenzied textures. A modern take on possibly the oldest instrumental formation in human history — the drum/percussion ensemble — the band is rooted in traditional African and Caribbean musical concepts, aesthetics and forms, inspired by the ancient civilisation of Nok, (an advanced civilisation dating back to 500 BC) but drawing particularly on the legacy of cultural ensemble bands from 1960’s West Africa. Situating themselves in this lineage, Nok Cultural Ensemble draws on the heritage of its members from St Kitts and Nigeria to Mauritius and the UK for a contemporary tapestry of black expression.
“We’re looking to those groups and concerts for inspiration, but doing it from our time and experience”, Wakili-Hick shares. “We’re interpreting that through 808’s, electronics, drum machines and more.”
A selection of deeply sampled one shot drum kits, played by Edward. Focusing on five drum kits. One higher tuned jazz kit, lower tuned muffled kit, lower tuning open tones, extended hits and an electronic kit. 3 dynamics, 3 round robins.
Tempo synced loops using the drum kits, split up in stems per drum or cymbal. Different rhythms mapped to semitones.
A selection of deeply sampled one shot percussion kits, played by different individual members of the groups. Focusing on unique West African percussion instruments. Combined into 6 presets.
Atmospheric looped sounds and FX. Using kits and percussion.
Tuned perc and drum hits shaped into 808s and percussive style synths and pads.