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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

Premiere: Crosscurrent Delivers The Visuals For Their Single Titled ‘Lemon’

Crosscurrent is a South African indie rock outfit that first burst out into the local music scene in 2016. Armed with a sound that pulls from all of the influences of the band members; ranging from jazz to rock to pop and more, the band filled a gap in the market with their unique musical offering. This musical offering offered difference to local and international music lovers who have an affinity for indie rock, which ultimately led to the band building up enough hype affording them the opportunity to grace great local festival stages such as Rocking The Daisies and Up The Creek. Their club performances in the city of Cape Town have contributed to the band’s ascent and have also allowed them to garner a strong and growing fanbase.

The band consists of brothers, David and Owen Franke, who respectively lead the production and vocal side of things, alongside long-time friend Milo-Hills Williams who is the band’s drummer. Collectively as Crosscurrent, they deliver their latest single titled Lemon released independently through their own label — Crosscurrent Records. The song is a soothing, warm and dream burner which offers the perspective of the young millennial male who is grappling his insecurities, love, relationship complexities, rejection and the frustrations presented in life.

image of cross current
Image supplied.

Lemon has a music video which was directed by respected Cape Town based film-maker and director, Daniel Alexander, with Marco Rodrigues as the producer. The concept of the video is narrative-driven with the ‘unrequited love’ shown through powerful storytelling. As much as the video deals with such a heavy-topic, the approach taken on the video is very light-hearted, playful and colorful, and that creates a beautiful contrast.

Watch the video below.

Stream Lemon on Apple Music below.

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

Diamond Thug heals our souls with ‘Tell Me’

High flying Cape Town based dream-pop band, Diamond Thug have been really busy lately. After the global success of their 12 track debut album from late 2018, Apastron, they have returned with a fantastic new single called ‘Tell Me’.

Diamond Thug are Chantel Van T (vocals and synth), Danilo Queiros (bass and synth), Adrian Culhane (vocals, guitar and synth) and Ted Buxton (drums). The band show us their incredible skill set on ‘Tell Me’. The world class sound, inspiring lyrics and beautiful vocals instantly puts your mind in a better place.

‘’Tell me my friend, what’s life in your head, oh tell me my friend.’’

‘Tell Me’ is executed flawlessly and this track is bound to be a hit when Diamond Thug perform it on their upcoming European tour.

Diamond Thug say that the new track ‘Tell Me’ is “an empathetic song which touches on dealing with the acceptance, how suffering is a shared experience of all of life, albeit to differing degrees. Through our suffering, we are healed and can offer our healing to others in the form of sharing experiences.”

Tell Me is the first release of a three-part series about Diamond Thug’s much anticipated EP called Gaiafy, which will be released on the 24th May.

Stream ‘Tell Me’ and keep an eye out for Part II of this series set to drop in mid-May when the next single ‘Aphotic Waters’ will be released. Find out more here.

 

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Featured Interviews Music Premiere Reviews

Premiere: KaySoul Releases The Prosimians EP through Berlin’s Tooman Records

KaySoul (real name Katleho Monaheng Matseke) burst into the local dance music scene in 2018 having slowly built up his rep by consistently releasing innovative remixes and compositions. His tireless work and brilliant display of his talent landed him wins at the Dance Music Awards South Africa, where he was crowned The Best Male DJ and he also got the Best Remix Award for his groundbreaking interpretation of Hans Seance’s record — Elanora.

After firmly positioning himself as one of the next go-to talents for hits, great timeless records and a different approach to DJing dance music, KaySoul has not paused his rise for glory as he is still adding more weight to his name by delivering stellar music and showcasing his strength of production. With a unique sound that doesn’t bind him to any convention, he is undoubtedly going to be a mainstay in the African dance music industry.

We caught up with him ahead of the releases of his ‘The Prosimians‘ EP released through respected German label — Tooman Records — to get to know him better, get a sense where his head is at and get some insights on his career in music. Check it out below.

Your name, brand and talent was properly seen and felt in 2018. The industry really got to know who you are through your various releases and your Dance Music Awards South Africa win. And a lot of us in the culture knew or heard of your music, but we never really had a back story as to who you are as an artist. Please take us back to how it all started for you and what sparked your love for music?

I am Katleho Matseke known by my stage name KaySoul and I was born and raised in Kwa-Thema in the East Rand of Johannesburg. My love for dance music started back in 2006 when I was in Grade 7, I used to listen to lots of radio and collected various compilations which were put together by the likes of Vinny Da Vinci, Glen Lewis, Oskido, DJ Ganyani, Soul Candi discs to name a few.

I told myself that one day I am also going to create what I keep listening to on the radio and in the year 2010 I got introduced by a friend of mine to the music making software which was Fruity Loops and I suddenly started to teach myself how to create beats and I fell in love with it till today.

What were some of your influences that helped shape the KaySoul that we have come to know in the music game today?
I draw a lot of inspiration from Larry Heard, a DJ/record producer from Memphis, USA and I got influenced by listening to various radio shows and surrounding myself with creative individuals, and also by listening to different artists interviews, they helped shaped the person I am today.
You are from a region in the Johannesburg area that is responsible for a lot of the local innovations in culture, entertainment and art – the East Rand. There is a certain level of excellence when it comes to the arts in the East Rand. What can you say about the music scene in the East?
The music scene in the East Rand is growing and there are a lot of creative artists who are putting their art out there to be heard. There are a lot of events which are happening in the East Rand and they push and celebrate the culture of dance music.
The KaySoul sound is very rich, layered and hard-hitting. What or who inspires your sound? Where do you pull your stylistic influences from?
Larry Heard inspires my sound signature. I pull my stylistic influences by listening to different Deep House artists from SoundCloud.
image of south African dj/producer - kaysoul
Image supplied.
You’re gearing up to release ‘The Prosimians EP’ through Berlin based label, Tooman Records. How did the project come about and how did the Tooman Records connect happen? 
The project “The Prosimians EP” came about in 2015 when I was studying Anthropology at the University of Johannesburg where I got inspired when I read about the Prosimians chapter which are a group of primates that includes Lemurs and Tarsiers. I liked the sound they made and the track titled “The Prosimians (Original Mix)” has a Lemurs voice sound.

In 2017 I asked Dark Art, a friend of mine to do a remix for me and in 2018 I reached out to Tooman Records via email, sending them The Prosimians EP demo and they liked the vibe on it and decided to license the project with them for release.

What do you feel you are bringing to African dance music currently?
I am bringing my unique self to the African Dance Music.

What else can we expect from you? More music? Gigs?
I have another forthcoming 4 tracker EP titled “Venice” which includes 3 remixes from a USA, Thailand and Greece producers. The Venice EP is coming out in April 2019 on Society 3.0 Recordings (Germany) and I also have two remixes I did, one for Michael Oberling from USA which will be released on vinyl and another one for Babies Kotsanis from Greece. I have a few gigs lined up as well.

In conclusion, what do you hope to achieve with your music?
8. In conclusion, I hope to inspire people with my music and to heal them when they are listening to my music. I want to achieve collaborations with many artists so that I open different territories.
 Stream The Prosimians EP below.

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

Premiere: Refentše Solo releases her debut project called GENESIS

Cape Town based singer-songwriter, Refentše Solo, who originally hails from the capital city of South Africa – Pretoria – has released her debut project. Titled GENESIS, the six-track body of work is appropriately named as it marks the beginning of a beautiful career.

With production credits from some of the best up and coming producers in South Africa, such as Tsukudu, Agord Nova and DJ 1D, GENESIS makes for a beautiful project which carries a smooth listen perfect for any mood.  The stand-out tracks on this project are the lead single Genesis, Wena and Sweet November.

Listen to Genesis below.

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

Premiere: Cape Town based alt pop band, CINE400, releases beautiful visuals for their single ‘Athlone’

CINE400 is an Athlone based alternative pop band that has burst into the South African music industry. Armed with a unique story, great music and a great youthful energy, the three piece band has won hearts of music lovers that have come across their beautiful musical renditions. Unlike many alternative pop bands in the country, the background band gifts the band members the opportunity to paint a picture of their home, Athlone, in a genuine, honest and authentic way. With their music they are able to show that a lot of treasure lies in communities that are often unfairly regarded as downtrodden, barren and dangerous, and that is undoubtedly a task that they are gracefully taking on. This does not mean that they have to limit themselves creatively in the themes, topics and ideas that they take on as an act, but just by the virtue of them being from where they are from is enough for them to break stereotypes, innovate and push boundaries.

READ: Six Cape Town based bands you need to start following right now

The music that Ozzy, Aqeeb and Kazz make evokes the a certain feeling of nostalgia to simpler times and promotes and champions togetherness, unity and most importantly, Cape culture. This is particularly seen in their song called Athlone, a heartfelt ode to their home. Athlone is a culturally relevant song in South African especially with the current social, political and economical conditions of the country. The song, as much as it is structured as an ode, carries a greater theme which speaks to South Africa in its entirety.

The song has a video directed by Daniel Alexander and produced by Marco Rodrigues. The video is beautifully shot and the focus was to flip the script in how Athlone is often depicted in the media. Amazing shots of different types of people that live in community, from children to the youth and even the elderly. When explaining the concept of the video the director says the following: “the hidden gems of any country, city or suburb are the people that occupy it. For this video we wanted to steer away from the stigma Athlone generally has around it and show people that beauty can be found in the places you least expect it. I felt the best way to do that was to put the people of Athlone center stage”. The video makes for a great South African story accompanied by a beautiful track.

Watch the Athlone video below.

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

Premiere: Lu-Fuki returns after a four-year hiatus with ‘Love You At Pace’, a soulful new single

Known for their insanely layered funk tracks and sets, Lu-Fuki an alternative rock outfit from Johannesburg, is a band you have to know. With band members that live and breathe music, Lu-Fuki has managed to leave a lasting impression on anyone that has come across their music or witnessed them play live, even after having a four-year hiatus.

The band has hit the ground running again, with a new and refined purpose and mission – getting Mzansi to rock with Lu-Fuki sound. Every move is calculated, and the band has mapped their mission out, and after successfully raising funds for the recording of their new project, they have stopped at nothing to break through and make an impact. The new project is to be called Coalesce, a six-track EP. The EP will have four new tracks and two re-worked demo tracks with ‘Love You At Pace’ as the leading single. With the lead single, the band crafts a mantra-like tune which is sure to capture you with emotional lyrics and expertly composed acoustic arrangement.

Stream Love You At Pace below.

Follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SoundCloud.

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

Premiere: Parabyl perfectly captures the stages of grief on his new 5-track EP

Parabyl is a Cape Town based act that is fast becoming a name associated with progressive electronic music in South Africa. As an independent artist, Parabyl has pushed to foster relationships with some of the most innovative creatives working in the music industry in the country, acts such as Vitu, Mx Blouse and ANG, and this has helped him gain access to new audiences. Gaining access new audiences is one thing, but retaining them and making sure that they keep coming back is another, and Parabyl’s main attractor is his distinct sound and approach to electronic music. To him, electronic music is more than just computerized and programmed sounds that are generated from a DAW, it’s more than that — it carries more meaning, feeling and a sense of purpose making his productions more impactful.

READ: Cape Town based duo, Three Witches, releases Ready or Not featuring Mx Blouse

Parabyl’s music knocks, is dreamy and often times dark, but within that very darkness lies beauty. Beauty that details his complexities and elements of his being as a creative. Having music as medium of expression and a platform to introduce new ideas to the world is a gift — one that Parabyl clearly cherishes and respects. He is part of a new electronic pop outfit called Three Witches with his longtime and frequent collaborator, Johnny Coutsoudis, and they are undoubtedly one of the most exciting groups to come out in the Cape in the last two years. Having experimentation at the core of what they do, they have pushed to become a permanent and influential fixture in Cape Town’s electronic music scene, and they are also slowly breaking through in other cities like Johannesburg and Durban.

image of parabyl
Image Supplied.

As we transcend from Winter to Spring, Parabyl delivers Stages of Grief,  a five track EP which he describe “as an arrangement intent on encapsulating and relaying the feelings of acceptance, denial, struggle and success”. For Stages of Grief, it is quite clear that Parabyl had to dig deep and tap into his vulnerability so he can design sounds that match his emotions, and he does this without the use of words — that’s powerful! The project listens as dark downtempo and has upbeat moments which add an interesting layer to the 5-track offering.

                                                

Stages of Grief is released under CAPECLUB and will be available for streaming on all major streaming platforms.

Stream Stages of Grief below.

Follow Parabyl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews Videos

EXCLUSIVE: Nirvana Nokwe presents ‘Chiron’ a beautiful visual representation of the spiritual & emotional healing of life

South African multi-disciplined artist, Nirvana Nokwe, is a wonder to watch. A fearless creative beaut, she consistently delivers purposeful art— art that seeks to start conversations, introduce new ideas of enlightenment and showcase the beauty of spiritual concepts.

Nirvana Nokwe is the daughter of legendary South African thespian and musician, Tu Nokwe, and the late Bheki Mseleku who was an incredibly gifted contributor to the growth of South African jazz. With a family history of great artists, it is clear to see that Nirvana was definitely going to carry on the family tradition of artistic expression that connects nations – as the popular saying says ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’. Nirvana carries a number of creative trades in music, film, modelling and TV, and her work and innate talent has opened many doors for her in the creative industry.

                   

As opportunities come and industries doors open, she chooses to use her art as a platform for disseminating life-changing information that aims to raise the consciousness of society. This is seen in the the topics she chooses to tackle and handle in her music and visual work. Her recent release, Chiron, is a beautiful chant that speaks of the spiritual. She describes the song as an artistic representation of the planet of healing, moving into Aries and how that is translated into the human’s spiritual and emotional life.

promo image of nirvana nokwe's chiron
A beautiful visual performance piece accompanies the song, where Nirvana steps into her own as a visual director. She calls on the very talented Durban-based photographers, Bheki Black Gold and Kevin Mthethwa, to help her capture the message of the song and present it visually for the world’s consumption.

Introducing Chiron, an a visual representation of the planet of healing, moving into Aries and how that is translated into the human’s spiritual and emotional life.

Stream Chiron by Nirvana Nokwe on Apple Music.

Follow Nirvana Nokwe on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SoundCloud. Subscribe to her mailing list here.

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

South African dream pop: Academie is a Joburg based duo serving you pop gems to soundtrack your life

Johannesburg-based pop outfit, Academie, is back! The duo, comprised of Jean-Louise and Alex Parker, drew first blood two years when they fearlessly broke out in the local scene. Armed with a unique sound, one that sees them render a new interpretation of pop music, one that can be unpacked, championed and enjoyed by the South African audience whilst seamlessly fitting into the international pop and electro music arena. When Academie came out, it was clear that they there gunning for global recognition and praise, and with a solid foundation, great tracks and great live performances, the duo is equipped to take their sound across borders.

Sonically, the duo seeks to fuse 80s synth-heavy grooves, expertly layered and cut pre-recorded samples with modern electronic soundscapes. The interesting thing about the duo is that as much as their musical approach is inherently electronic, they still value and integrate acoustic elements to construct their sound.

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Official animated artwork of Academie’s first single of 2018 – Battles.

For Academie, aesthetics are equally as important as the music, which is dope because they understand the importance of supplying the listener with a visual representations of their music, especially with the type of music they create – visuals are crucial. In this department, they do not lack and this, coupled with amazing music, has allowed them to build a devoted, loyal following which they can grow with as an act.

                                                          

The duo has released a single titled ‘Battles‘ which serves as a follow up to Volumes, an EP which they released in 2016. When describing the single, the Jean-Louise says “The inspiration for ‘Battles’ came from observing the never-ending mud-slinging between people with two different points of view, with neither actually listening to what the other is saying,” she says of the song. The single is a synth-heavy gem that carries sweeping vocals which are married to an 80s-inspired groove that pulls you in as a listener. The duo plans to release more music as the year goes.

As a live act, Academie still has a lot of up their sleeves as they have a couple of gigs that they will be rocking with the biggest one being Rocking The Daisies.

Stream their latest single, Battles, on Spotify.

Stream their latest single, Battles, on Apple Music.

Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SoundCloud. Visit their website here.

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

Premiere: Cape Town based duo, Three Witches, releases ‘Ready or Not’ featuring MxBlouse

Cape Town based electronic and experimental music duo, Three Witches, is changing the face of modern South African pop music with their unique electronic released. Founded by two progressive artists, Johnny Coutsoudis and Ciaran Slemon, the duo is known for its unique and experimental interpretation of modern pop music. Their sound is heavily influenced by electronic beats and psychedelia, allowing them to create dreamy, auditory experiences that are nothing short of amazing.

artwork of ready or not by three witches featuring mxblouse
Official artwork for ‘Ready or Not’ by Three Witches featuring MxBlouse

After a string of independently released songs this year, they come back swinging harder with the release ‘Ready or Not‘, a single featuring MxBlouse. The song serves as an extension to their introduction to the music game in South Africa. The duo describes the song as a blend of synth-pop and Hip Hop, and that description is fitting as the stylistic influences are very evident in the music. Ready or Not is a song that sees the Three Witches fearlessly take control by prioritising themselves before anything else and putting an end to being taken for granted. MxBlouse shines in this number as they continue the theme of the song with raps delivered in IsiZulu. Peep the song below.

Stream Ready or Not on Apple Music.

Stream Ready or Not on Spotify.