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Exclusive: See the New Video from JFK “Machinen”

Nganga by JFK Cover Art

JFK is a solo project of Anthony Di Franco of Ramleh, Skullflower and Ax, one that dates back to 1987, when the first JFK album was released on Broken Flag. Active intermittently since then, JFK marks its thirtieth anniversary with Nganga, which will officially be released on Tuesday, April 18 on Chondritic Sound.

The term “nganga” literally refers to a certain creation made with an iron cauldron into which items such as bones and sticks are placed. On a spiritual level, it refers to the spirit of the dead that resides there. In Palo, a Cuban religion descended from the beliefs and practices of Central African slaves, it means the 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. When the victim’s soul passed in fear and confusion it was captured in the nganga and wedded to the sorcerers’ will, allowing him 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 would be channeled into the types of chaos and destruction we see in the modern world – mass extinction events, bombings, terrorist attacks. DiFranco says about the album, “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.”
Nganga is created from the dense metallic tones characteristic of Di Franco’s earlier Ax pieces, constantly changing and shifting between bleak and blissful. Symphonic in structure, it rises to a chaotic apex and apotheosis: a true sonic and psychological journey.
As a hint of what is to come, we have the video for “Machinen”, created by DFM of F Squared Media. It channels the steely modernism and shadowy spirituality of the album with aplomb, providing for an attractively discomfiting experience.

 Nganga is available for pre-order now through the Chondritic Sound Bandcamp page. The vinyl version is limited to 300 copies and, as of this morning, there were only 16 remaining— waiting until the official release date is not an option if you want to secure a physical copy.

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