March has gone and we’ve officially wrapped up the first quarter of 2019. The music just keeps getting better as music labels in the region keep pumping the underground with top notch releases ranging from soulful to deep and afro house. If you’re new, I’d like to welcome you to this monthly series where I recap on some of my favourite releases from the Southern African region. I’m no know-it-all so do hit me up if you feel I omit any hot releases for whichever month. You can read up on last month’s edition here. Let’s jump right into to my house picks for the month of March.
George Lesley feat. Denny Dugg – Gumbaya
Label: Vibe Boutique Records
George Lesley effortlessly made it into my favourite soulful house producers list last year with his debut album My Journey. This time around, he teams up with Denny Dugg to give us Gumbaya – a soulful jam with infectious guitar riffs and smooth vocals from Denny Dugg. On its first week of release Gumbaya made it onto the Afro House Essentials, Hype Chart and Weekend Weapons Traxsource music charts, a clear favourite among the Traxsource team.
Various Artists – Next Generation
Label: Deepstitched Records
2lani The Warrior takes a look into his crystal ball and selects seven rising stars within the underground house scene whom he terms the Next Generation. The release includes seven fresh cuts from Collen Cohen, Arty Party, Avi Subban, Sand Isle, Secret Souls, Troyder and Krippsoulisc which range from minimal to deep house and some hint of techno. An impeccable selection from 2lani The Warrior perfect for the dance floors, a morning run or even long drives, it’s an all rounder! Very hard for me to pick favourites but if I had a gun to mu head, I’d mostly likely choose Direction by Krippsoulisc, Luniua Forever by Collen Cohen and Birds Eye by my compatriots, Secret Souls.
King Wave – Better Luck Next Time
Label: Under Pressure Records
I must admit, before Better Luck Next Time, I didn’t know of nor about King Wave. I’m really grateful to the friend that recommended this release to me because this is pure gold. This 10-track project has it all from groovy soulful house to banging deep house with rhythmic drum loops, groovy bass lines and hypnotic melodies. One of my two favourite tracks on the album Don’t Go featuring Soul Varti and Here With You all got made it onto Traxsource charts on the first week of release, deservedly so. Don’t Go was featured on both the Traxsource Soulful Essentials and Weekend Weapons charts while Here With You bagged a spot on the Traxsource Deep Essentials. My absolute favourite jam on this release though, and it might take a while to get knocked off the top of my playlist, is Charade. Super outstanding, I cannot even put into words how this song makes me feel. It’s full of emotion yet has no words, just makes me want to burst into tears of joy. This is a serious contender for one of the top songs to come of 2019 and you can quote me on that!
Lemon & Herb feat. Soulstar – Nqo
Label: Mixed In Motion Recordings
Released under their self-owned and managed label Mixed In Motion Recordings, Nqo is thumping afro house banger featuring Soulstar which expresses a sense of authenticity through the use of isiZulu. The word Nqo! denotes the sound made by the knock on a door and in this case it’s used to tell a story of second chances – a love struck individual knocking on his/her loves heart asking to be let in once again. I foresee dance floors being set alight locally and as far as Ibiza through this exhilarating jam. Upon compiling this article, Nqo was charted No. 23 on Traxsource’s Afro House Top 100 chart, a top release indeed.
Pierre Johnson – Down EP
Label: Pierre Johnson
It’s not every day that artists reward their fans with free music but Pierre Johnson saw it fit to show his appreciation to his fans and music lovers at large for their support through his musical journey thus far. He certainly didn’t hold back any pushes on this one, Pierre went straight for the kill! The growth and variation in his sound, compared to the signature sound we know and love him for, jumps at you like a kangaroo. I love this new lane that he’s riding in. The sound on Down EP has influences of techno and tech house but stays true to deep house in its rhythmic pounding bass lines. The Cape Town born marvel also maintains a lot of elements from his signature sound. Too many dance floor weapons on this 4-track EP which a lot of underground DJs will surely be using on the dance floors this winter.
Various Artists – The 7 Year Itch Pt.2
Label: Just Move Records
Just Move Records is celebrating their 7th anniversary this year and in doing so they’ve put together two beautiful compilations, this being the second of the two. The beautifully curated compilation is synonymous with their love for the underground as it features 8 tracks from local underground artists: Ashish Joshi, Sabastian Mugg, Eddvin, Phunky Punk, Rick Koen (MfanO Da_R-Deep), Da Brownie, FKA Mash and Vicmari. The release is a blend of lounge, downtempo and banging deep house tunes, a great showcase of Mzansi’s electronic music climate by Just Move Records. Choosing stand alone favourites is a crime because all the jams are special in their own right. Nonetheless, I’m guilty because I just have to mention that Sabastian Mugg’s Light Of Humility is definitely scratching that itch! The melody is spellbinding and the groovy bass creeping in the background is the perfect compliment. Da Brownie gives us a lovely deep house joint in Letting Go, perfect for those sundowner sets, easy on the ear but will definitely get you swaying on the dance floor. FKA Mash’s Clockwork is another worthy mention with his signature electronic synths and midtempo groove. This one, along with Pt.1, is a definite collector’s item.