Warbling basslines upon up a dissenting and dramatic soundscape before doctored vocals and haunting trills weave their way into the mix. The track is SLABOFMISUSE’s ‘Emoji Molly’ and it’s the perfect way to open up the latest Beauty and the Beats compilation by DRK&LVLY Records.
The third in the series, Beauty and the Beats Volume 3 boasts an impressive 15 tracks by some of South Africa’s best producers on the rise. Compiled and curated by Linton Davids aka SLABOFMISUSE and released on his locally-based label, the album took just under a year to put together.
“As a label we don’t stress about deadlines, we want all the artists to represent themselves through their music as organically as possible and at their own natural pace without the pressure of time constraints. Creativity comes first,” explains Linton. “I believe that some of the most creative and expressive music is coming out of South Africa right now.”
Unlike previous volumes which featured producers who were already fairly established both in South Africa and internationally, Beauty and the Beats Volume 3 serves as a platform for up-and-coming producers exclusively.
On the album you’ll hear the ambient, spacey sounds of beat scene producer Micr.Pluto, the frenetic drum beats of Women Who Kill and the bass-driven, choppy rhythms of Sumo Jac to name a few. There are also a few names on the volume who are no strangers to the local music scene, namely DJ Caviar aka Dank, Big Space, and of course, SLABOFMISUSE, who all anchor the album well with their respective signature sounds.
“It was an easy process deciding on the list of artists for this volume,” says Linton. “I’ve been following most of these artist for some time now and had no doubt that they would all put 100% into their tracks.”
A few stand out tracks on the album include ‘9twenty’ by Wildebeats, a synth-drenched track underpinned by oscillating percussive elements and propelled forward by a high and fixed tempo.
Beat Sampras pull through with their signature beat-head sound on ‘Close’ – smooth with a resolutely thick bassline, and on the low-end it’s off-kilter in the best way.
And Vox Portent’s ‘About You’ is a wonderfully dense bit of music. Coming in at just over five minutes long, the track is full of cyclical drum patterns, ambient and mechanic distortions, and running through it all is a spectral and dreamy measure that’s heady enough to get you swaying.
After working with an internationally-based label and navigating the extraneous and sometimes exploitative contracts and restrictions that come with it, Linton decided to found his own label. “So I started DRK&LVLY Records to have full control over my music and give producers a platform to release with the support of a record label, but still having full ownership of their music,” he says. “I also saw the label as a way to get involved with the growth and development of our music industry, especially the subculture scene.”
The dream, admits Linton, is to put out good music by talented local producers, ultimately garnering attention from a local and international audience and cementing the works of the featured musicians in the industry.