Guinean percussionist and vocalist Falle Nioke and Hot Chip’s synth maestro Joe Goddard have teamed up on ‘Exile’, the first taste of their new collaborative project, N’Dekho. Clocking in at almost 9 minutes, their debut is a juggernaut of a track that flits between the post-disco stylings of Goddard’s best-known works and Nioke’s emotive West African soulfulness. With a Kraftwerk-ian melodic line and throbbing synth bass underpinning the early part of the track, it’s when Nioke’s vocals come in that the track truly springs into life and presents itself as a refreshing meld of the two artists’ idiosyncrasies.
With their combined moniker translating to English as ‘cousins’, the track itself is a multilingual reflection on familial relations and the difficulties faced when a gulf of several thousand miles separates you from your birthplace, with Nioke asking of his brothers; “don’t be angry with me // you know that exile is not easy” in English, before switching to his native Susu and Fulani languages for vast sections of the song. Despite the obvious language barrier in place for Anglophone listeners, this outpouring of longing for home and the comfort of family is something many around the world can still relate to, adding a very human element to an otherwise mechanised dance floorfiller.
While both artists have produced plenty of striking music in their own rights in the past, this marks the beginning of what could prove to be a fruitful coming together of Nioke and Goddard’s visions, and with further output on the horizon, there is hope that the duo will continue to deliver to the same high mark. For now, electro aficionados and linguaphiles can bask in the majesty of ‘Exile’, and allow themselves to feel at home with the track, wherever that may be.
Words: Reuben Cross // Photo: Louise Mason
‘Exile’ is out now via Greco-Roman. Stream and purchase the track via Bandcamp.