Straight off the back of his collaborative project Rooinek, Jo’burg based singer-songwriter Thami Two Shoez has released a striking four-track EP, Commentary.
Thami is a versatile musician, able to dance deftly between a number of vocal styles and ranges. This was evident on the Rooinek release – from theatrical, near-operatic lines on ‘Nights in Braam’ to the croons on ‘Lost Today’ – but today’s release is a true showcase of the dynamic new storyteller’s abilities.
Initially sparked by the single ‘Stranded’, Commentary grew to become Thami’s first solo EP, born out of a turbulent time in his life. “In January this year some hectic personal struggles hit me hard and all I could do was write. So that’s when the other three tracks started to take shape,” explains Thami. “In a space of two months the tracks were conceptually done.”
Certainly, the EP is a personal one. An internal diary of sorts, it holds many of the artist’s thoughts on the world, the music scene, and on music itself. On certain tracks like ‘Curtain Call’ you’ll find lyrical treasures penned by Thami nearly three years ago.
“I write a lot of my thoughts down but I never really go back to them,” he says of his songwriting process. “Most of the stuff is usually developed from a freestyle at first as I’m listening to the beat. What was cool about this offering was the fact that the beats and lyrics were written at the same time. We had so much fun feeding off each other to create a sort of marriage between the sounds and the lyrical content.”
Commentary opens on a collaborative note through ‘Stranded’ which features the producer of the EP, Je Suis Ohne (The second moniker of Steve Hogg aka Vox Portent). The track is a wonderfully whimsical piece of music that’s fixed on a strong narrative – a theme present throughout the EP.
On ‘Curtain Call’ the emcee lays the foundations for a dark and metered track, before Thami’s high, haunting notes float atop shrill synthesisers and steady basslines. ‘Stand in Line’ has a frenetic percussive element to it that perfectly complements his steadfast spoken vocals. On ‘Limbo’ a firm vocal delivery rides a warbling low end to spotlight some choice pieces of lyricism and again, the artist proves his ability to jump from agile, gentle notes to rhythmic and resolute spoken vocals.
All in all, Commentary serves not only as a brilliant display of a bold lyricist, but also as another solid release by local label Subterranean Wavelength. If innovative and pioneering music crafted with a passionate and considered hand is what you’re looking for, you’d be wise to keep an eye on both Thami 2 Shoez and Subterranean Wavelength.