Have You Heard? New South African Music Volume 5

January – that month containing far too many days – is finally over.

Shit, it was a rough one, right? But even though we were all surviving on stale peanut butter sandwiches and a series of small loans from friends and family, there was still a host of great new music to help us ignore the scary bank statements and the seemingly endless stretches between debit orders and paychecks.

We’ve listed some of that music here. Think of it as a multi-genre soundtrack to a dark, but ultimately triumphant time in your life. Congratulate yourself! You’ve made it out alive! Also, it’s February now and the dope thing about February is that it has considerably less days than January. So set aside some time, grab a strong drink or a hot coffee, or something that isn’t a peanut butter sandwich, and treat yourself to some local musical goodness. 

MIXES

Nandi Jakuja | I met GOD, she’s BLACK

Nandi Jakuja’s a Grahamstown-based student and DJ who hosts regular events in Grahamstown and who’s also recently performed at Jo’burg’s Kitchener’s. To date, she’s put out a handful of mixes, mostly sitting around the 30-minute mark and always brilliantly curated and mixed. This, her latest mix, is no different. Listen at work. Listen at home. Listen when you’re sad or happy or otherwise indifferent. Just hit play and enjoy. (Pro-tip: The fade-in at 12:30 is where it’s at.)

Fiji Fantana | Percocets

Look, there are a lot of garish Sadboy Aesthetics™ here, I won’t lie. Musically though, Fiji Fantana puts together some solid mixes. Originally from Johannesburg, the DJ’s recently moved to Cape Town, which he’s said has contributed a lot to his musical scope. Percocets follows Ramen Noodle and both mixes have a strong trap influence to them, peppered with some slow and steady lyricism, nicely selected and packaged by Fiji. Listen to Percocets below.

ANG | Summer of ANG 002

ANG is back with another mix, this one full of slower, but nonetheless infectious tunes. Coming in at just over 30 minutes, you’ll hear a bit of ambient electronica, some experimental house, and a whole lot more. “A side you rarely hear,” says ANG, “but some vibes I’m really enjoying.”

EPS AND ALBUMS

Justice Machaba | FLIPS

Like so many great musicians I find online, I found Justice Machaba’s music through Under Pressure Sundays, the local beat collective through which Machaba has hosted many a track. The producer’s recently released FLIPS, a six-track collection of chopped up, experimental and largely ambient arrangements with a subtle undercurrent of R&B. It’s not too far removed from Machaba’s first project, but it does possess a unique depth and considered temperament throughout, perfectly set up by the intro track.

Jakinda | Afrika 3000

DJ, producer, conceptual artist and one half of the future-electronic music duo Stiff Pap, Jakinda has been a firm favourite for a while now. After slowly teasing the release of Afrika 3000, January was the month we finally saw it hit the internet. Having a bit of trouble with local labels, Jakinda also decided to release the EP independently through his Facebook page, with a brief reminder: “I refuse to have someone tell me how my story should be told and I refuse to have my message compromised. This is how I chose to express myself and my thoughts and I will release my art the way I envision it.” If you haven’t given Afrika 3000 a listen yet, hit play below. Bubblegumclub’s Christopher McMichael also gave the EP a refreshing review which you can read over here.

Dunnkidda | Petrol

Early January saw the release of a new EP by Dunnkidda, titled Petrol and released through Cruel Section Records. It’s a playful EP overall which, like all Dunnkidda releases, is heavily bass-driven. Throughout the EP you’ll trace an infectious, almost sprightly momentum, kicked off from the get go by ‘Blueberry Cough’. There’s a bit of funk, a bit of house and even some future kwaito. Press play below.

Blanka Mazimela | Africa Is Not A Jungle

Blanka Mazimela is a DJ and producer who works primarily within the reams of house music and attributes much of his passion for music to Ryan Murgatroyd who, early on, became a mentor of sorts to Mazimela. Released via Cape Town’s Red Bull Studios, Africa is Not a Jungle blends Afro-house and Deep-house with progressive vocals to produce three, well-crafted tracks that are likely to dominate local radio slots soon.

Thor Rixon | Songs From The Bath

Yet another release that we all seemed to be waiting for, Songs From The Bath finally came out online and on vinyl this January. It’s a seven-track LP filled to the brim with experimentation and collaboration including the likes of Itai Hakim, Alice Phoebe Lou, Hlasko and more. Listen to the LP below and read a bit more about it on Platform.

 

SINGLES

Broken Transient | Smile

021 – Lit’s Broken Transient came through with a quietly powerful release this past month. It’s a smooth, lush bit of music that makes use of restrained rises and intermittent keys which see you riding a warm melody that ends a bit too soon. No stress though, just hit play again and carry on.

Slabofmisuse | M.I.A – ‘Steppin Up’ remix

Cape Town-based artist and musician Slabofmisuse puts out a simple and effective remix of M.I.A’s ‘Steppin Up’ that maintains the original track’s gritty distortive elements while sprinkling in an emotive bit of keys too. Check it out below.

Bakai | Yum Yuck – ‘Cold Blooded’ (Remix)

I have no idea who Bakai is, but they clearly enjoy remixing local indie tracks and I quite enjoy those remixes. Here, we have a remix of Yum Yuck’s ‘Cold Blooded’ which sees Bakai reducing the original track to a far simpler version of itself, the addition being a steadier drum pattern and a few reverberating synths here and there. It’s a nice, easy listen that reminds me of that old King of Town remix of the Desmond and the Tutu’s track, ‘Kiss You on the Cheek’. If you enjoy this one, check out Bakai’s Well Done Sun remix here.

Fleezus | stop sittin on my cloud

With a total of three tracks on Soundcloud, each one garnering a handful of plays, Fleezus also looks like a new addition to the scene. ‘stop sittin on my cloud’ sounds like a bit of experimentation by the artist and while it may be rudimentary in parts, it does demonstrate the effectiveness of discerning repetition in a piece of music. Give it a listen for yourself below.

Escapism Refuge | Joker

This is a great one to play in passing and on repeat a few times to let it really sink it. As with all Escapism Refuge tracks, ‘Joker’ is a dense bit of music, rich in its crisp, percussive elements and underpinned by a softly warbling low end. Check it out below.

Boskasie | If I Knew Then

Boskasie’s voice is pure magic. The eclectic soul artist has been at this music thing for a short while now, but ‘If I Knew Then’ marks a shift in direction for the artist. The song, she says, is a reflection on a younger version of herself – the things she would have told herself then, given the chance. Give the track a listen below and check out our profile and original portrait series with Boskasie here.

MUSIC VIDEOS

Jumping Back Slash | The Siren’s Call feat. Nonku Phiri

JBS brought out Slow Oceans recently, a project he’d been sitting on for a good while before releasing it. He’s like that, it seems. Always fussing over every slightest element before he’s happy with it. Good thing too, because Slow Oceans is a truly brilliant release. ‘The Siren’s Call’ is one track off the project that sees JBS team up with Nonku Phiri to brilliant effect. It’s a sweeping, theatrical piece of music that platforms Phiri’s voice beautifully without losing its own brilliance – the deliberate horns and terse percussive movements. The video itself does well to highlight the disparate elements within the song – light and dark, wild and measured, even vocals and frenetic drum patterns – set some time aside and give it a watch below.

Vox Portent | Liar feat. Thami 2 Shoes

Jono Kay does a great job on the music video for Vox Portent’s ‘Liar’ which features vocals by long-time collaborator, Thami 2 Shoes. The video follows 2 Shoes though bland office settings and dingy bars to expansive forests and more, all perfectly cut to meet the movements of the track off of Vox Portent’s YOUTH EP. Check it out below and read more about Vox Portent over here.

Keen to dip into some earlier local music? More Have You Heard? this way. 

Graphic by Lauren Mitchell. 

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