Last month, we got a glimpse of what was to come from the new JFK (Anthony Di Franco of Ramleh, Skullflower and Ax) album Nganga, and now we have a second look, courtesy of DFM/ F Squared Media’s new video for “The Scythe”. This track takes the listener deeper into the album’s dark heart, described thusly (for those who might have missed it in April) by the label and artist:
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.
The song and the video are a pummeling, disorienting experience, stabbing at the ears and eyes with an unrelenting ferocity. Whereas “Machinen” was lumbering and grinding, “The Scythe” is chaotic and aggressive. The two complement and compete with each other in equal measure. (Please note: the light effects in the video may be unsafe for persons with epilepsy or other seizure disorders.)
Nganga is available for pre-order now through the Chondritic Sound Bandcamp page. There are only 7 copies remaining, though! (It’s also available as a digital download.)