Category Archives: Music

Just a little bit of last year creeping back in – Gonjasufi

Gonjasufi – MU.ZZ.LE

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The simultaneously croaky and sweet voice of Sumach Valentine is what will catch your ear when you first start to listen to Gonjasufi’s album MU.ZZ.LE with its abstract hip-hop sound.

A handful of electro pop, some down tempo beats, smothered with a sort of slow motion, head-spinning swirls from guitar snares, piano samples and strained out synthesizing strings you might think that this album be a little passive. But Valentines sweet groaning is what off sets the pace turning it into the ultimate bachelor album – the ultimate getting laid album. Pop the album on when you bring someone home and watch as they turn to putty in you hands. The relaxing pace from song to song is somewhat meditative in its delivery and itches for a kind of cathartic release. Yearns for it in fact. And just as you are about to twiddle down Gonjasufi to an ‘easy lay’ album, the lyrics prove to have far more depth filled with raw emotion that, on unwrapping the plastic from the cover, is not initially expected. Especially in light of the fact that Gonjasufi’s previous album “Sufi and a Killer” seemed to have a very collaborative feel to it.

Valentine seems to be focusing many of the lyrics on searching for love, guilt and tripping out, however the sense of honesty that comes from Valentine is really what makes the album worth a spot in your collection.

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Just a little bit of last year creeping back in – Zola Jesus, Conatus

Zola Jesus – Conatus

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Conatus is mainly built from thundering toms, majestically revolving synthesizers, and warm courses of classical stringed instruments. “I kept having these primal images”, Nika Roza Danilova said of her new album, “just quite strange landscapes and shapes I couldn’t shake.” That may sound like a meaningless gloss, but on “Swords”, the minute-long opening track, you can hear exactly what she means.
With her background in opera, one can hear how she challenges the norms of perfectly executed notes in terms of a classically trained perspective – to much of my delight. The Zola Jesus project is something brand new from someone incredibly young and from her collaboration with M83 on the “Intro” song in “Hurry up, We’re Dreaming” one can see she is destined to grow as a musician. Her indecipherable lyrics at points puts the ear and mind to work as one tries to figure out what she is saying, this is none the clearer in “Vessel” which might also just be the most formidable song on the album. Conatus has a broody yet sensual feel to it and if I had to compare it to any other album it would be Bjork’s “Homogenic”.
The restraint of the beats makes you feel like you want to get up and dance yet stay seated and allow the music to swirl like a whirl wind in and around your aural anatomy. Keep your eye on this one, its gong to become really big!<

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Shigaff about Pride?

It started political, enough…?

Before the actual taste of freedom, it happened. When the smell of the heavenly roast of equality was wafting through the air, it happened. And in 1990 I remember hearing about it at the ripe age of seven, “Die moffies hardloop deur die straat!” – so naturally, with the initial emotion of shame, I pranced outside to play where hateful words could not be heard. But one day I knew I would be one of those “moffies” prancing through the streets whether onlookers spat on me or not. And as soon as the clock turned 18 I was strong enough to stand up for myself, and I braved my first pride. Propositioned by men, sweet talked by the ladies and accosted by the bible bashers… I could not have asked for a more fulfilling experience from a cherry popping first time. What were we marching for? The right to adopt children. And now we can, to spite how difficult it may still be (I am told), but I felt I marched for something.

Is it different?

Now, We marched for equality…? What? Slap my forehead and call me Mary, that is as redundant as saying I would like meat for dinner, not rump, fillet or sirloin, just meat. For a group of people hell bent on equality they surely have not thought past their own noses in terms of creating a real message, creating real unity between the marchers and creating something that we can be proud of (can you smell the filthy smell of irony, no pride in pride). I understand the concept of equality but does it really need to be mentioned? Marching for equality – and here comes another food analogy – is like asking for my steak to be seasoned in a restaurant, it’s pretty much expected to be seasoned.
With such an open theme it was expected that this year would turn into a march of individuals, not of a group. Each and every person was going to have their own idea of equality and come fully prepared with their own agenda, and this idea of “what about me?” was more prevalent than ever before. What ever happened to “What about us?” but before I start accusing everyone else of nepotism for their own idealistic notions of freedom, I have to ask myself, am I guilty of doing the very same? Admittedly, yes I am. After almost eleven years of Pride, my admiration and support for the LGBTI community has dwindled down, dissipated into a fine mist of nothingness, as I feel more and more the perversion of being gay taking hold of the very definition of being gay. Correct me if I am wrong but I was under the impression that I was gay because I fall in love with men, not merely that I lust after them? But float after float I was reminded of what it really means to be gay… A boy in underpants. And it saddened me, if it weren’t for the Christian float handing out much needed water or the ladies in the front of the march dancing to their own tangible rhythm I may have completely lost my respect for a community I have been so naively supporting over the years. So I am guilty, of attending this year with the idea that most homos are just perverts, the idea buried somewhere deep in my brain, therefore I am guilty of creating a notion of “them” and “me” in a community that use to take that very notion and, with one copacetic movement, turn it into “us”.

What did I do?

With the wave of violent protests sweeping over our fair land I could not help myself from asking the more pertinent question: How is this march different from any other? And my answer would have been that this march is about love, respect, tolerance and a general good vibe. To prove to onlookers that to spite what judgement may be cast on us as LGBTI folk that we always brave a smile and include others in our quest for joy. So I slipped on an outfit that commanded attention, spun a mirror ball high in the air to gain a few grins and twirled my way past onlookers all in hopes of garnishing a smile, a laugh whether it be at me or with me, so long as I see you are happy.
But half way through the march I stumbled upon a group of protesters with a very ambiguous message: “No cause for celebration” and as a somewhat veteran at the game of pride I immediately jumped towards homophobia. But I was wrong. It was not homophobia but an awareness campaign that came off rather hate filled than enlightening. Their delivery enticed a raw reaction and by the time I had learnt how wrong I was I felt like too much of an idiot to even stick around. I could feel a split between those women and myself, a very unnecessary split. And for the first time I could see that the ‘other’ had moved away, from pride goers versus spectators towards organizers versus protesters, and dare I say… We have turned on ourselves. Why was one group so mislead in thinking that no one would care about the plight of the slain that they would resort to terror like tactics to be heard and similarly how can organizers of something as “meaningful” as pride not have taken it upon themselves to bring awareness to the degree of homophobia in our country, if they are not aware then maybe they should not be organizing something of this calibre?

Shigaff…?

Should I give a flying fuck?
Yes! Most definitely and for two very simple reasons, one – splitting the community will only make fighting for the same cause more difficult and two – we seem to have forgotten that homophobia and hate crimes are still rampant in most communities in South Africa. Where did we miss each other, when did we stop caring about atrocities such as hate crimes and what happened to the unspoken love we use to share?

By the end?

The march is over, the drinks are flowing, there is a vibe and we can all start to have a bit of fun. Why are we having fun though, does that not depoliticize the cause? In my minds eye the festivities creates a feeling of inclusivity for anyone wanting to be part of our community but that is scared because sexually they are not inclined to join but on a moral standpoint they believe in equality. So I am all for the fun – and on a personal level – the fun in celebration of the fact the we are each still alive, managing to come out of some hostile situations with our lives, long enough to celebrate the fact that we are the only country in Africa that hosts, not one, but five gay prides through the year. Celebration of the fact that we can celebrate in a park, in the sun ( some countries without a constitution like ours are forced to host pride indoors) and with local musicians that support us.
So by the time Tamara Dey is commanding my spirit to wiggle and shake, I know I am safe. Flash Republic entertains the crowd after a build up of so many superb live artists, and around me in the middle of the crowd I see faces of both sexes, of all colours and a variety of ages thrusted together in a jovial jump for the sky as we all scream along with Miss Dey, “I don’t even know your name”, and a profound beauty sprung to mind, how we don’t need to know each others name to have a love that is formulated in respect for one another (to spite the fact that I don’t think the song is actually about that). We are bound by one idea, the FREEDOM to LOVE who we please.
And since when can a little bit more love ever be a bad thing?

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A Love Song Like No Other

A review I read summed up the album Born to Die perfectly: “it’s the album equivalent of a faked orgasm” but amongst song after song of more or less the same drab the title track from Lana Del Rey is a true little gem. There are three main reasons I fell in love with this song:
One.
It begins with a frantic set of strings set off with a deep beat, mixing the thrill of falling in love with the sensuality immediately. If you are familiar with Del Rey you will find that her breathy voice will not escape your ear from the moment you hear it. And in the beginning it starts as a whisper followed by that distinctive depth her voice carries.
Two.
The wobble and wavering she puts her voice through, and taking it quite high at points only to bring it down again, sets the space for a romantic ride on a cloud or drifting over gentle swells in the ocean. It’s dream like quality speaks to the love she is talking about.
Three.
The lyrics tell the most beautiful story with a gorgeous honesty to it…

don’t make me sad, don’t make me cry,
Sometimes love is not enough, the road gets tough, I don’t know why
Keep making me laugh, let’s go get hi
The road is long, we carry on, try to have fun in the meantime

Give it a listen.

Born To Die

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Chromatics – Lady

I want to start off with this track for the mere fact that it is a rather uniquely Chromatics sounding track but showing some great maturation and development. Ditching the off robotic vocals for Ruth Radelets moaning and yearning voice was the smart choice but the song is still rife with that Italo disco that the group is so influenced by. Italo disco is a sub genre of disco that showed face in the seventies. What Chromatics have done is take that sub genre and place it in today, and it workks beautifully.

Lady is a rather sensually bleak song. The constant pace of the tune is numbing, the synths are electric pulsations through your veins and her voice pines for more and desires so much.

It’s a good little track… But there is more to come from Chromatics latest album – Kill for Love.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbx8qRg6tPE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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Taking Us Back Old School Style…

If there was ever a time you found yourself swimming through deep beats on a dark dance floor back in the early naughties then you were one of those true fans of deep house. And as I sit back and look at all the clubs around me I wonder where is the DEEP house still prevalent?
Maybe it’s because deep house is fairly non existent with new artists of today… Until I stumbled onto The Field with their new album Looping State Of Mind. The album begins with a high toned synth that slowly rolls into a paced bass line carried there by a systematic, stamping beat. And the first track, Is This Power, should hit a nerve when it comes to that old school, deep bass beats that we so love.
The music seems to flow more or less the same from that tone until you are met with the trippy title song, Looping State of Mind, and you are going to love it. It feels like a slow mix of ragga influenced beats that makes you want to lift your knees as you swoop around the room dancing. It will definitely hit that African feel we all love so much without taking it into that crazy, I need to drink a six pack to handle this jungle fever, kinda vibe africanism leaves you with. So, brothers and sisters, take this one in the only way deep house allows you to take it in… Deeply.
Which brings us to the most stunning song of them all. A piano accompanied little gem that is far more emotionally driven with a sense of epic proportion than all the other tracks on offer. It might remind you of some of Moby’s late nineties tracks where the piano and a soft, somber beat dance in perfect unison together. It almost draws a tear as the music reaches out to it’s immediate atmosphere and turns it into one of euphoric perplexities.
The last track… Let’s just say it’s the last track, end of that.
But the entire seven track album is totally worth your while. If you feel the need to see what ever happened to deep house, this is where it went guys. This is it’s development as a genre of music and compared to some other genres from the dance world I am eager to say that the development of deep house is totally like a bottle of wine, aging, maturing and now displaying something very cerebral in an unexpectedly beautiful manner.

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Do, do do, do-da, do-da

The bass that bounces from a sexy voice…
An imploding tap that manages to tick tock to the end…
Strings, harp? ding, ding, grrrring, ding
And still that voice is relentlessly bouncing on top of me…
and just as it dissipates into a sort of calm, a sax…the sax
Whining…
Oh how it moans and groans at me…

Keep Me There – is the title of the song and appropriately so. It’s a song that urges you to hold it, keep it in, like tantric dancing. Don’t let it go, build it up, keep it simmering, don’t ever stop and never ever peak. It’s a really delicious song that encourages you to take a listen over and over again and then recreate a sort of scene in ones head that perfectly reflects exactly how the song makes you feel. For me it’s dancing… Albeit with a strong sexual undercurrent, but since when was dancing not a fluid act that demands sexual undercurrent?

Nicolaas Jaar’s 2011 album Space is Only Noise is worth a listen, but as many lyric-less music it tends to sort of blend together to form a jovial, easy listening sort of album. But Keep Me There is one that stands out and bashes me on my groove spine with a rhythm stick that sends little dancing quivers of sensual vibrations up and down my body. Every nerve is alive with a pent up explosion of dance euphoria.

So check it out.

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A Song

Here is a song by Perfume Genius titled All Waters. The song is about two men holding hands in public… But the beginning suggests we are far away from this actually being a reality…

When all waters still
And flowers cover the earth
When all trees stop shivering
And dust settles in the dessert
When I can take your hand
On any crowded street
And hold you close to me
With no hesitating
Oh, I love…
You.

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