KenLo Craqnuques (Canada):
"König in Thule + Goethe-Remix = Bantus inna Thule"
"There stood the aged monarch
And drank life’s sunset glow;
And cast the sacred goblet
Into the flood below.
Goethe, King of Thule
Achtung ! Ladies and gentlemen here is a remix made by KenLo Craqnuques, a.k.a. "Blackman Sangrouge d'Amérique du Noir", whose real name is Akena Lohamba Okoko. An incredible beat-maker in Quebec’s hip-hop and electronic music scenes, this multi-talented artist creates bold beats and rich forms filled with illuminated grooves. He is also a great representative of the fragmented sound and syncopated melodies coming from the American styles of “wonky” and post “J-Dilla”. “It’s a coming and going of ambiances and sequences; I create links between sonic places.” These places get in contact, connections are made and mixed and then the beat kicks in: the King of Thule from Germany remixed in Montréal becomes Bantus inna Thule.
The contrast with the original piece composed by the German artist Emil Klotsch is impressive. Two places, two styles. On the one hand, Emil Klotsch’s King of Thule is long, skillfully arranged, and imbued with a subtle tragedy and touching lyrics. On the other hand, KenLo’s remix transforms the King into Bantus. The universe of Thule is brought to life by fragments, beats and glitches, like a succinct and dense outburst, slightly melancholic, where the King’s story comes to us in the form of a far off echo, infected with words alien to his kingdom. Despite this divergence, one thing remains: the spirit of Goethe’s poem. A spirit full of the King’s pathos, who, alone and dying, threw away the goblet, the only thing that could give him love and comfort. To each his pathos, to each his beat!
PS. Many thanks to Philippe Renaud (La Presse) and Mathieu Lavoie (Bande à part) for the access to their information.
Goethe-Institut Canada, September 2011