Featured Music Reviews

May Recap: Top House Music Tracks Released In Southern Africa

As I write this from the warmth of my bed, some of you might be reading this with a sniffle in your nose or an itch in your throat. That can only mean one thing, House Stark was right, winter is here! Worry not though, the Groove Dokotela’s got you covered with this month’s prescription of hot house grooves.

Gabbana – The Lonely Orchestra Pt. 3
Label: Fluxtuations Recordings

image of Gabbana - The Lonely Orchestra Pt. 3

Those who know me or have been following my house music commentary, know how much of a soft spot I have for Gabbana’s music. His debut album Transitions was one of my favourite drops of 2018 but we can have that conversation another day. Part 3 of The Lonely Orchestra series doesn’t sway too far from the previous drops. Gabbana maintains those emotive progressions but this time with more grit and a tad more dark deep vibes, especially on Space Junk (Deep Tech Mix). Healing Vibes (Original Mix) is more melodic, emotive and has that nostalgic tang that lingers, my favourite of course.

KVRVBO – Descendants of Apollo

image of KVRVBO - Descendants of Apollo

One of the most talked about names within the underground house circles off late, largely due to A Trip To Tokyo (I’m slapping myself for sleeping on this one and not featuring it in my February House Picks) and now Descendants of Apollo. I first heard Descendants of Apollo back in March when Kid Fonque gave it an exclusive spin on his Selective Styles radio show. A mellow and hypnotic deep house jam with an infectious vocal sample. KVRVBO has started off the year on a high and at this rate he’ll easily make it into my MVP list for 2019.

Da Brownie – Santa Monica EP
Label: Papa Records

image of Da Brownie - Santa Monica EP

Da Brownie’s in the 18-area, he shoots, he scores! Cape Town stand up and show your boy some love because you’re well represented on this one. Da Brownie impresses on his second outing on Real People owned Papa Records. His approach to house music leans more on the soulful than deep side but his unique marriage of the two makes this release special. Jersey Step is that groovy jam that you wanna boogie to on the dance floor. Santa Monica, the title track, is a luscious deep gem that makes me think of sunsets on the rooftops of exotic foreign lands. It oozes freshness. So fresh that Terry Hunter went on to compile it in his Deep Rooted compilation on Foliage Records.

Umngomezulu – Through Deep Waters EP
Label: Umngomezulu

image of Umngomezulu - Through Deep Waters EP

Where do I start with this one? How do I even put it into words? At a time when the underground is at a point of saturation and the scene is flawed with too much of the same, in comes Umngomezulu with the most unique offering I’ve heard this year. A blend of ambient and progressive house with undertones of techno wrapped up in total deepness. I must have repeated Drawn Out Of Deep Waters at least five times the first time I heard it, the raw emotion in it. Just as the title suggests, I felt as if I had just been rescued and taking my first breath, emerging out of the deepest of waters. Moon Reflection On Water, on the other hand, is a party-starter guaranteed to pack any dance floor to the brim. This EP is a must have for every avid deep house listener. Umngomezulu take a bow my brother, take a bow!

Soultronixx, Luyo & Bluesoil feat. Decency – Touch (Afro Soul Mix)
Label: Double Cheese Records

image of Soultronixx, Luyo & Bluesoil feat. Decency - Touch (Afro Soul Mix)

Touch is a smooth, soulful and afro-infused song birthed from the collaborative effort of Mallorca-based Luyo alongside Mzansi’s Soultronixx, Bluesoil and the amazing Decency on vocals. The instrumental is warm and soulful with afro-inspired percussions and a jazzy trumpet. The cherry on top is Decency’s silky and calming vocals beautifully layered over the instrumental. The chorus is catchy and immediately compels one to sing along, regardless of one’s inability to match up to Decency. Charted 25 times on Traxsource including Traxsource’s Afro House Essentials and Afro House Top 100, Touch will definitely leaving longing for your distant lover’s sensual touch.

Prince Ivyson – Nervous Breakdown
Label: Rogue Decibels

image of Prince Ivyson - Nervous Breakdown

Prince Ivyson is a Soweto-based DJ & producer previously known as Blacky. The first time I got to hear Nervous Breakdown was when !Sooks dropped it during his #KLKFridays set at the African Beer Emporium. I would have never guessed that it is locally produced. After listening to the EP, the title song Nervous Breakdown is still a standout favourite. However, Bob’s Theremin is another banger on this 3-track EP. The EP consists of deep dubby bangers driven by pounding kicks and bass lines.

Zhao – Magic (Karyendasoul, Ed-Ward, Kususa & Argento Dust Remixes)
Label: Surreal Sounds Music

image of Zhao - Magic (Karyendasoul, Ed-Ward, Kususa & Argento Dust Remixes)

One of Mzansi’s seasoned underground labels brings us yet another cocktail of electronic music sounds through Zhao’s Magic remixes. The remix package features remixes by Karyendasoul, Ed-Ward and a joint remix by Kususa & Argento Dust. Karyendasoul delivers an exhilarating remix, a unique rendition of afro house within an electronic context. Kususa & Argento Dust aim for a similarly unique remix with theirs leaning more towards progressive house. Ed-Ward two remixes are my favourites though. The first being one founded upon his signature sound a fusion of afro house and deep tech, if I were to call it that. The special one though is Ed-Ward’s Love Remix, wow! Why haven’t I heard this side of Ed-Ward before? A midtempo, synth-driven dubby electronic gem that even made it onto Opolopo’s Traxsource June 2019 Top 10 Chart, deservedly so.

Featured Music Reviews

Pick of the Month: The Lonely Orchestra Part 2 by Gabbana

Release Date: 14-01-2018

Following the release of The Lonely Orchestra last year November, Gabbana delivers another stellar EP – a sequel to the aforementioned release. Released under his own label DeepTribe Music and created at the Fluxtuations Studios (I stand to be corrected), The Lonely Orchestra Part 2 cements the Pretoria based Producer/DJ/Musician among the top electronic music artists in Mzansi. Filled with his signature synth amplified pads and basslines, each track on this 4-track EP is a journey of its own, independent of the other yet they seamlessly amalgamate into one spellbinding harmony.

Perfect for long drives, early morning jogs, dancing up a storm and, well, basically everything, each track delivers its own ambience and caters for almost every mood. Trying to pick a favourite is one of the hardest tasks I’ve had to do since the year started because if I may reiterate, each track delivers its own ambience.

I’ve really got my fingers crossed that Gabbana drops an LP or full on album this year, the underground needs it. I would, however, love to hear the rising star use more vocals on his jams not only to give the songs a lasting sensation but as well to add that extra dimension to his music but that’s just my humble opinion. So, Gabbana if you’re reading this, it’s not too late. South Africa has an infinite pool of talented vocalists, dive in. And to you the reader, spare a moment to listen and some money to support the brother’s hustle.