Categories
Featured Music Reviews

June Recap: Top House Music Tracks Released In Southern Africa

If you’re reading this then congratulations are in order. You’ve made it through to the second half of 2019 and just as Jim George said, “It’s not how you start that’s important, but how you finish.” Judging from this month’s releases the house music scene in Southern Africa is looking to use the second half of the year to blow 2019 completely out of the water. I thoroughly had a tough time picking this month’s music. There was so much and I left out so many so please do forgive me. Nonetheless, here are my top house picks for the month of June.

ZuluMafia, Nhlangano, June Jazzin – Soulfellas 2
Label: Moyo Muziki Records

ZuluMafia, Nhlangano, June Jazzin - Soulfellas 2

Soulfellas 2 is a resounding reminder that soulful house music will never die. A laidback and groovy release that sounds nostalgic yet ever so fresh. Soulfellas 2 features three tracks from Soweto’s soulful house maestro ZuluMafia, Junkonme’s Nhlangano and June Jazzin who’s one of my favourite house selectors. I honestly love the whole release but my stand out favourite has to be June Jazzin’s Lakhusta Strawberry, that groovy hypnotic bass is a winner for me!

Sculptured Music – Sad To Think (Remixes)
Label: Stay True Sounds

 Sculptured Music - Sad To Think (Remixes)

The other day Kid Fonque tweeted, “Some tunes don’t need remixes.” This may be true but he clearly wasn’t referring to Sculptured Music’s Sad To Think. The hit single received some remix tlc from FKA Mash, KVRVBO and Jazzuelle. FKA Mash comes through with his signature Glitch Dub sound, a favourite with many having been charted 18 times on Traxsource including Traxsource’s Weekend Weapons, Afro House Essentials and Hype Chart. My personal favourite though is KVRVBO’s Remode Mix, a vibrant deep house banger that every deep house DJ needs to have in their arsenal.

 

V.underground & George Lesley feat. Earl W. Green – Mayibuye
Label: Phoenix Music

V.underground & George Lesley feat. Earl W. Green - Mayibuye

Throughout history, music has always availed itself as a vehicle for social change and a platform for the marginalised to have a voice. Mayibuye is a call for the restoration of Africa. Earl W. Green advocates for the redistribution of land back to its original owners. He does this over a percussive instrumental infused with afro sounds and a jazzy saxophone that compliments Earl W. Greens smooth vocals. Beautiful song by V.underground, George Lesley and Earl W. Green, Malibuye ilizwe lethu!

Jazzuelle – North Star EP
Label: Atjazz Record Company

Jazzuelle - North Star EP

“The North Star EP represents my growth over the years, it’s the evolution and progression of my sound over time,” shared an excited Jazzuelle through a social media post. As I listened to the EP I shared the same sentiments. Jazzuelle has never shied away from experimenting and taking his sound to different avenues but on the North Star EP I believe he found a common ground for the signature Jazzuelle sound I fell in love with before, as well as his love for different facets of house, that is, techno, afro house and so forth. The Drake Equation is very much reminiscent of Jazzuelle celestial dreamy deep house sound but my pick of the bunch has to be Eclipse, both the Original and Darkside Dub.
 

Kususa, Argento Dust – Incwadi Encane
Label: Sudam Recordings

Kususa, Argento Dust - Incwadi Encane

The KwaZulu Natal based electronic music duo Kususa and emerging star Argento Dust are proving to be a force to be reckoned with. Incwadi Encane is proving that collaboration is at times the key to reaching new frontiers. The two-track EP showcases new age afro house sound driven by techno and electronic sounds. The title track Incwadi Encane is suited for festival stages with its spellbinding rhythm and melody. The Idea is a pulsating afro house banger that can set any dance floor alight.

Candy Man – Technokrat EP
Label: Afrocentric Records

Candy Man - Technokrat EP

If ever there was any doubt, South Africa is the headquarters of Afro House music. There seems to be a gem discovered everyday and many others waiting in line to be discovered. By no means is he a newcomer to the game but I recently discovered Candy Man’s music through his Technokrat EP. This four-track release is packed with upbeat dance floor hits only! The title track Technokrat is the type of song I could easily envision Black Coffee playing on one of his sets on his international escapades. Obstraction & Wijo  would be perfect for my girlfriend’s step/dance classes and quite frankly one cannot listen to this EP without breaking a sweat.

 

KG Smallz feat. Ree Morris – Give Me Some Love
Label: House Afrika Records

KG Smallz feat. Ree Morris - Give Me Some Love

Ree Morris cries out for love on a warm and mellow soulful house instrumental by KG Smallz. Though we act tough on the outside, everybody needs love and  Give Me Some Love is every man’s plea for a chance at love. Though I’m not sure, I suspect Ree Morris is on additional production as well seeing that the man knows his way around the keys. The single is clearly a favourite with the Traxsource team as it featured on the Soulful Essentials, Weekend Weapons and Hype Charts.

 

Avi Subban – The Guilty Pleasures EP
Label: Stay True Sounds

Avi Subban - The Guilty Pleasures EP

Yet another stellar deep house release from Stay True Sounds. This time it’s Jozi’s underground superstar Avi Subban serving the heat. Summer Nights is the perfect intro into this EP, an energetic deep house jam with a groovy bass. Guilty Pleasures, the title track, is the crème de la crème of this three-track EP. Driven by hypnotic synthesised progressions and mesmerizing beat drops, this one is bound to get you moving. It also got a heads up from Jimpster as he featured it on his Traxsource Top 10 chart for July.

 

As I said initially, there were many releases that deserve worthy mentions; Lemon & Herbs Edge EP, Lazarusman’s Letter To Your X, George Lesley’s The Atmosphere featuring Tlale Makhane and many others that I might have missed.

Featured image credit: justjadephoto

Categories
Featured Music Reviews

Innanetwav Floods The Streets: oshoku releases ftr, a beat to vibe & rock to

oshoku is a multi-faceted creative from Johannesburg who is largely instrumental in the sound and visual work for the innanetwav team. Handling and sharing the in-house music production duties with 808x whilst crafting awe-inspiring visual art pieces that perfectly express and communicate the innanetwav sound is no small feat. It goes to show his creative might and talent. He uses photography, design and music as mediums through he which he expresses his idea and as an extension of his being.

As a producer, he has built a unreplicable musical style which is characterized by modern tempos, drum patterns and textures while also drawing inspiration from pop hits from yesteryear.

artwork for ftr by oshoku
oshoku recently won a battle against cancer and while he was undergoing chemotherapy he sought refuge in his creative talents. Armed with a warrior’s spirit, he knocked beats out from his hospital bed displaying strength and the power of creativity. Beyond his creative work, he has a beautiful story of triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds.

READ: South African producer, oshoku, is a pioneer behind South Africa’s new urban sound.

He releases ftr, a two-minute monster of a tune which showcases his affinity to interesting sounds and knack for crafting powerful emotion-driven beats to vibe and rock to. Stream the track below.

Categories
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.

image of battles artwork
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.

Categories
Featured Music Reviews

A legend in the making: Daev Martian, an unsung pioneer, is testing new sounds, breaking new ground & pushing South African music to new heights

The word ‘legend’ is often used loosely in music circles the world over. It often goes hand in hand with the word ‘pioneer’, and massive debates result when those two words are placed on artist that is perceived as undeserving of such a tag or description. When it comes to impact, influence and innovation in music, is it possible to have a system of standardisation for praise and support? Who sets the benchmarks of excellence? Is it the fans, industry players, the media or other external entities or forces that dictate who is deserving of such titles? Those are difficult questions to answer as music and the arts play a rather complex role in society because they directly impact how humans think, feel and experience life.

An unfair amount of pressure is placed on the creators of music, from unrealistic expectations to being forced to assume a workaholic persona, in exchange for mass approval can be seen as a setback and negative. Some artists can handle the pressure that comes with being an artist, some can’t handle the pressure, and some don’t care much about it as their focus is pushing themselves. Daev Martian, born Dave Moyo, is one of South Africa’s most talented musicians out right now, unnoticeably shifting and bending culture at his will as he progressively channels his creativity into music. Son of a jazz bass guitarist, music has always played an integral part in his life. Music has always been something he had no chance of ignoring. His journey in music started out in 2009 when his hands and mind first met DAWs (digital audio workstations), something incredible was sparked in him. A spark that would allow him, a few years later after 2009, to be one of the most progressive electronic musicians in South Africa.

With an impressive DIY approach, Daev has managed to have a string of projects released through international labels from America and Australia, namely Goldie Records and Gentle Records. Much of the acclaim he has received as an artist has come from abroad, but that is slowly changing as more and more influential tastemakers and industry players are catching wind of his work, championing it and sharing it through their channels. One of those industry players is Kid Fonque, a label founder and radio show host that is passionate about exposing independent music in South Africa. Through Stay True Sounds, a label found by Kid Fonque, Daev Martian is afforded the opportunity to flex his skill, talent and innovation as a DJ, producer and well-respected curator in South Africa’s beat scene. He’s a multi-dimensional artist who can seamlessly dabble and shift between any genre within electronic music. Not only does he produce, he writes as well and sings on some of his tracks.

Many may not know him yet but trust us when we say that he is without a doubt, an act that is geared up to represent South Africa well in the international arena of music. Towards the end of 2017, Daev released his groundbreaking ‘Frequency Manipulation’ album, a project which set him apart from the rest and inducted him into ‘up and coming pioneers’ discussions. The project received a lot of support locally and it was celebrated mostly for its progressive sound design, production and conceptual standing.

In 2018, it seems as if the focus for Daev Martian has been gigging, make more music and supporting his sister, Deniece Marz, with breaking out as a sought-after DJ in Johannesburg. The slow pace at which local music fans are catching on to him makes in an unsung pioneer, but that does not take away from the fact that he is a legend in the making. Those who are sleeping on him will experience a rude awakening when world celebrates him for his pioneering spirit.

Stream ‘Frequency Manipulation’ by Daev Martian below.

Categories
Featured Music Reviews

An engineered path & destiny: Sir LSG’s brave pursuit into the South African music industry is a story of inspiration & passion

Sir LSG (real name Lesego Sefako) needs no introduction. With over ten years of DJing and music production experience, he has built up a very strong name for himself in the game. A career that started in his student years as an electrical engineering student at one of South Africa’s most prestigious universities, the University of The Witwatersrand, has culminated into a very successful South African music brand. Primarily, he plays within the electronic music scene in South Africa, and in so doing, he unleashes his talent packaged in innovation, progression and sublime musical mastery.

After being bitten by the music bug in his formative years, he decided to enhance his talent by getting formal training at the Soul Candi Institute of Music and the Academy of Sound Engineering. Receiving formal education in music catapulted him into a new level where he was afforded the skills, coupled with his innate talent, to break boundaries. And boundaries he broke, catching the attention of South African music legends like DJ Christos and German House pioneer, Ralf Gum, who helped mould him into the artist we know today. With an insatiable hunger for success, Sir LSG continued to impress with strong releases and in 2011, he caught a hit with the GOGO Music released banger, ‘Sax in The City’. The song caught steam became a chart-topping hit that year, cementing Sir LSG’s name in the South African music game.

Fast forward a few years later, Sir LSG with the assistance of Ralf Gum emerges as a household name in South Africa’s House music scene. Having worked with some of the most talented artists, seasoned and up and coming, Sir LSG is undoubtedly a marvel who people will always love, celebrate and champion. His sound is original, soulful and unique, and it allows him to capture the energy and stories of the times he lives in, in a memorable manner.

In 2018, he may easily be regarded as a king at what he does. Sir LSG started as an engineering student, isn’t it ironic how he engineered his path, so he could fulfill his calling which is music. Mind-blowing and telling how he relentlessly pushed himself to live his dream. You can’t not be inspired by his story.

Listen to his latest release featuring Melanie Scholtz, Gratitude, below.

Categories
Culture Featured Music Reviews

To live, love & DJ: The meteoric rise of Joburg-based duo, Nouveaux, & how they’re shaking things up in South Africa’s DJ community

Johannesburg-based DJ duo, Nouveaux, cannot be slept on at this point. The duo is made up of two friends, Neo and Thube, who have a passion for using music to bring people together. The sounds they curate are eclectic, new and futuristic, and they shine a light on their journey in the entertainment industry – a journey filled with purpose and passion.

Championing a sound that is alternative and not popular is an indication of bravery and passion, especially in an entertainment industry where promoters are hell-bent on turning a profit which forces them to follow pop trends. Nouveaux offers much-needed difference and edgy display of what young South Africans are choosing to listen to, and that is affording them the well-deserved luxury of DJing at some of the best and biggest youth-focused events in Gauteng. They call themselves the ‘SoundCloud bros’ which is fitting because their come up has been on the internet through the clever use of SoundCloud and Twitter. From our knowledge, Nouveaux is one of the very few DJ acts to successfully break into the event space from the strength of their mixes on SoundCloud. The numbers are there, locally they are becoming a force you cannot ignore, and they are also drawing the attention of international listeners, which is absolutely phenomenal.

On SoundCloud, their mixes pull in thousands of listens and their selections consist of local tunes from acts that are bubbling under and some of the best remixes and edits of popular songs the world has to offer. They are more than just a DJ duo, they are tastemakers which can be seen as a go-to platform which can be used to find the next club hit. They live and love what they do, and it shows, their passion is inspirational and infectious. Nouveaux is going to be a household name in South Africa’s DJ community and that’s an undeniable fact.

Peep their SoundCloud below.

Photography credit: Byart Photography

Categories
Featured Music Reviews

Introducing THERON: Kaapstad massive producing gritty beats for African beat heads to rock to

Cape Town based creative, THERON, doubles as a DJ and producer and is someone you cannot afford to sleep on. In the Cape Town beat scene, he is a rising force that is contributing to the growth of the culture. As a DJ, you can find him rocking crowds in the mother city and seeing his name on Cape Town beat-focused event flyers is increasingly becoming a norm. If you champion, follow and support the local beat scene, you’d know that THERON’s name is slowly seeping into conversations held by Joburg and Durban natives who appreciate beat music.

A force to be reckoned with, you need to make sure that you take the time to familiarize yourself with this young beat maker making waves. Follow him on SoundCloud and on social media.

Peep his beats below.

Categories
Featured Music Reviews

Listen to ‘MELODIESONIC’ by talented South African producer, Tsukudu

MELODIESONIC  by talented Johannesburg based producer, Tsukudu is finally here. The six-track project features Melo B Jones, Refentse Ramathlodi and Tafara Muguti. A well-composed electronic effort that undoubtedly pushes South African future sounds forward.

Stream the project below.

Full project review drops next week.

Categories
Featured Music Reviews

South African electronic music maestro, Muzi, shares his vision for Africa with the world

Durban-based producer, Muzi, is a true treasure for South African music. Experimental electronic music that prioritizes traditional African sounds, from West Africa to South Africa, is rare and the producers that are brave enough to test the waters of experimentation are even more rare. Muzi on the other hand is a brave, creative and free. In a time where imitation is rife, and individuality is scarce, he unapologetically expresses himself the way he wants to, with no boundaries or external pressure. Weirdly enough, by listening to his music, you can almost tell that he is not in this music thing for anything else but the music – the passion is clear and undeniably infectious.

Successfully combining traditional Zulu folk music like Maskandi and Mbaqanga, with modern soundscapes that are prevalent in today’s popular music genres such as hip hop, electronica and then mashing that up with some South African kwaito and some afrobeat flavor from West Africa, you get Afrovision – Muzi’s vision for Africa shared through music. On the thirteen-track album, he channels African icons and respected pioneers of African music; Fela Kuti, Bhekumuzi Luthuli, Hugh Masikela and Mandla Spikiri, to create a modern-sounding album that can be used to forecast what African music is likely to sound in the next five to ten years. In composition, Afrovision is inherently futuristic and progressive. An easy and fun listening that subtly forces you to envision a better and more prosperous Africa, and all of that is done through music. You really have to give Muzi props! Afrovision is crafted in a way that will prove to you that Africa is where it’s at.

album artwork for muzi's afrovision album
Image credit: Muzi

It is no surprise that for a boundary pushing album like Afrovision, Muzi enlists some of South Africa’s best up and coming talent like Langa Mavuso, Una Rams and Tiro alongside seasoned Mzansi innovator, Okmalumkoolkat. To support the West African influence, he calls on Nigerian star, Seaba on Chocolate Dreams, a song with a catchy hook that a lot of South Africans have fallen in love with. Songs like Zulu Skywalker, Boss Mode, Best Friend, Kini and Bantu Space Odyssey are absolute vibes and bangers of note. Props to Muzi for not succumbing to the pressure of creating what his peers are creating and crumbling under the pressure to follow what artists are doing. Afrovision is an amazing album and one that will be remembered for taking African music forward. Strongly recommend that you buy this one.

Stream on Spotify below.

Categories
Featured Interviews Music Reviews

Interview & Premiere: Ou speaks to us about his House Afrika EP release & plans for the future

The South African House scene is alive and well. With strong releases coming from the country, the world is forced to take note and pay attention. Talent is emerging from all corners of South Africa, taking ownership of their destiny, locking down their targets and fearlessly pushing to build a name for themselves in the international arena. Ou, a producer from KZN, is one of the promising acts to come out in South Africa. He has shot up the ranks to be one of the newer acts to take South African electronic music to the world. We got a chance to speak to the talented producer about his new EP dropping through House Afrika, how it all started for him and what he has in store for us for the rest of 2018. Peep the interview below.

We recently came across your work through the lovely people from Surreal Sounds. They put us on to what you were doing and we were blown away. How did it all start for you?

My relationship with Surreal Sounds started last year, I got in contact with the label via Sizz who introduced my craft to Katlego Swizz the person who heard my music and got hooked on working with me straight away. The relationship was organic and then we first started by releasing a mixtape that was mixed by myself and Sizz and after that we followed that up with a collaborative EP which is titled Twin Towers and that’s when my relationship with the label grew.

The music you make is very unique and different. These days it’s becoming increasingly difficult to box or label music. How would you describe the music that you make?

Being unique and different is what I’m fond with and that was my approach to the industry in the beginning. In describing my sound or the type of music I make I would say it’s a balance between electronic and deep house music. It’s not a sound you can pick up any day in the market, to this point some people still find it hard to believe I’m from South Africa and I take that as a compliment because it shows that they can trace the origin of the inspiration of my sound which is not from South Africa.

One can describe you as a newcomer in the music game and you’ve grown immensely in your art. When it comes to the music, what are you in it for? Some are attracted by the lights, the popularity and the fast life that comes with entertainment. What keeps you pushing?

My mission in the game is solely to inspire upcoming producers to widen their scope of creativity and not to conform to what is trending and just deliver the best work they can bring forth. What keeps me pushing is the love I receive from my fans and the people who find it good to expose themselves to new and different sounds.

South Africa is one of Africa’s biggest exports of electronic music and for us to reach that level a lot of people had to tirelessly work and lay the foundation. Who are your local inspirations and influences that are still active in the music industry?

I have only two people I look up to which is myself and my twin brother Sizz who I usually spend most my time listening to and apart from him I would mention two producers which is Da Capo and Jazzuelle who I can say played a crucial role in making me wanna craft my own music and to also choose this genre which is electronic as the one that’s best fitting to my attributes in making music.

PREMIERE: Surreals Sounds releases ‘If I Had To Kill You’ by OU featuring Lungelo The Poet

You’re releasing an EP through the legendary South African label – House Afrika. A label that is rich in history and has done a lot to push South African house music forward. How did the House Afrika release come about and what does it mean to you?

As you know that it’s not my first time releasing with House Afrika, one track of mine was included in a compilation last year in the House Afrika Sessions 8, and the track is titled Laser Clutch. The Man EP’s plan to be released at House Afrika came to me last year December which is the time I completed the EP and listened to it thoroughly for about 2 weeks after that I sent it to Swizz to get his opinion on how it sounds before sending it to House Afrika, he then listened to it and gave me feedback and than we sent it to House Afrika and they also gave it a thumbs up. Being recognised by a label I looked up to growing up is a priceless feeling and a dream come true and it definitely meant a lot to also work with them for a second time.

You’re clearly breaking down a lot of industry doors. What can your growing fanbase expect from you this year?

There’s a lot to expect from my side this year. To name a few things, I am going to start with remix packages which I will be dishing out of a track I released with Surreal Sounds titled “If I Had To Kill You”. Part 1 of the remix pack will be released on the 18th of May and Part 2 will be released on the 16th of June. I might also appear on some compilations as the year goes and I will constantly be dishing out EPs every month till say September or August on different labels from South Africa and also internationally.

Lastly, where can people buy or stream your new EP on Friday. Where can people follow online?

The Man EP will be available for streaming and download on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Beatport so basically in all Digital Stores. My interactive socials are FacebookTwitter and Instagram.