Ze French av got a special spirit about zem. So I was pleased to hear that we’d be getting a flavour of Parisian vibes from electro-chill producer and percussionist, Kick Bong – who came down to play at Camden’s Inspiral Lounge last Saturday night. He gave us a four-hour trip of boogadelic bliss: split between a live set and DJ sesh – and consorted by the sounds of the kick drum.
Vocalist, drummer and full of surprises: Kick Bong is Franck Jousselin, who’s side project, Triptone (feat.Romy Valalik and other vocalists) has uncovered a different side to an artist evidently more than just another electronic music producer. Drumming since the age of 12, playing in pop rock bands forever; it all begins to make sense.
Kick Bong however, is the electronic ambient project that the artist brought down to the Inspiral Lounge, and it’s one he’s cultivated since 2001. The project has led to the release of 17 compositions on various compilations and to performances at festivals that have included: Aurora, Boom, Glade, Hadra and Synergia amongst others.
It’s difficult not to wonder about the inspiration behind the name, Kick Bong. So without further ado or any sign of hesitation, I’m bang in there and it’s the first question I ask. I know what you’re thinking, but I blame the superfood (don’t overdose on goji berries, ever): it’s like being charged with rocket fuel, so I was pretty much armed and dangerous.
Well, as it turned out, the French do have a sense of humour – even if it is subtle. So as it transpires – while Kick Bong itself is a name that does ‘exactly what it says on the tin’ – it doesn’t in the way you may think… Franck laughs at the assertion and kindly explains:
“Kick is the kick of the drum, because first I am a drummer, and ‘bong’ is for ‘bongo’ because I also play this instrument, and so to put this together makes Kick Bong.”
Et voila! I knew that! Walking into the Inspiral Lounge though, is like going down the Rabbit Hole. It’s small but big. Big in the heart because of its cosy family vibe in a tiny yet infinite space. At the same time, it’s a bit like a Mary Poppins bag: more spacious than it looks yet fits most of Camden – so most artists are surprised by its size when they see it for the first time. When I ask Franck what he thinks of the place, he begins: “Well…” He’s pondering the right words for several minutes. A good while later, he finally tells me: “I think it’s cosy.”
The Inspiral-Kick-Bong connection goes back several years to the time the artist played the ID Spiral Stage at Glade. The crew had been trying to book him for some time, so this was a highly anticipated session. As a prequel to the bouncy DJ set of movadelic grooves though, Kick Bong also played a two-hour live set of his own carefully constructed sounds from the album: Secret Garden. It’s a soundtrack of mystical psychedelic downtempo to more uplifting electro-chill, interspersed with an understated dubiness and some breaks.
Layering, effects, composition and arrangements synchronized with the kick drum during the live set for a positive and colourful ambient experience. “I really enjoyed the vibes with the people” He tells me later. “I feel good also when I play percussions; the people love it!” And they surely did with plenty of people grooving to the groove till the not-so-bitter end during the second half of the set.
The artist has established a strong presence with a steady flow of releases on several labels including: Peak Records, Blue Hour Sounds, Cosmicleaf, Ajana, Chillcode, SoulCandi, Candyflip and Spirit Zone. He’s also contributed to Hadravision, the very first ambient compilation released by Hadra Records.
Listen to the album Secret Garden though to experience Kick Bong for yourself. Wake Up Part 1 (above) is just one of the tracks from the 12-track album. Launched in January this year, it also features killer titles such as: “The Heart should Follow the Mind” and “Teleportation.” The artist has already launched a new EP, Bongzoid Fusion produced in collaboration with Squazoid. The next album should be ready for release by around January 2014.