Portuguese ‘progressive kuduro’ quartet Buraka Som Sistema have enjoyed a rather rapid rise over the last several years, with their fusion of the African dance genre with contemporary electro and house elements attracting high-profile fans like Diplo, while M.I.A. appeared on their preceding 2008 collection ‘Black Diamond.’ Three years on, this third album ‘Komba’ sees BSS noticeably adding polish to their productions whilst also pushing their hybrid sound into fresh new areas, thanks in part to a cast of collaborators that includes Afrikan Boy, Stereotyp and Mixhell. Opening track ‘Eskeleto’ immediately illustrates the increased depth of BSS’ sound here whilst also revealing the increased influence of dubstep as female Portuguese vocals float teasingly over a moody backdrop of prowling sub-bass drops and urgent electro synths, the emergence of Afrikan Boy’s English MC vocals halfway through adding a paranoid urban edge nicely brought out further by the queasy use of Autotune.
‘Hypnotised’ meanwhile jitters with all manner of honking juke synth stabs, before venturing out into clattering fidget-house akin to the likes of Switch and Sinden as car-alarm bleeps flutter against the rumbling tribal rhythms and ricocheting, cut-up male vocals, before ‘Hangover (BaBaBa)’ sends things juddering off in a baile-funk fuelled blur of snare buildups, clattering tribal percussion and dark, growling bursts of distorted sub-bass. Elsewhere, ‘Lol & Pop’ comes powered by the sort of bright, pulsing rave synthline that wouldn’t feel out of place on an early Prodigy record, as a live bassline adds some additional welcome griminess to the rnb-centred female vocals and crisp kickdrum snaps. An impressive second album from Buraka Som Sistema, ‘Komba’ should go a long way towards satisfying their growing fanbase.