Hyphen: Overly Ready Mix

Hyphen1

South African drum and bass titan Hyphen, created a 52 minute mix in honor of some of the fallen events that served as a platform for 140 bpm rhythms. The ever so incomparable Cold Turkey, Leggo and the legendary Step Up were events that helped mould Cape Town’s bass scene.

It gave artists and listeners a space to come together and revel in their love for the music. We’ll forever be grateful for these events and the people behind them, for the impact they’ve had, and continue to have.

Listen/download the mix below:

KaeB: Interview

KB2

Johannesburg-based producer KaeB is one of the most exciting and interesting producers right now. KaeB’s re-works are incredible, each with its own personality and authenticity.

He began a movement called #CozyFridays where he releases a new track every Friday. We spoke to him about #CozyFridays, his career so far and what else we can expect from him this year. He also graced us with an exclusive mix of all original tracks.

KB3

When did you begin producing?

I started producing in 2010, most of the time I was finding my way using Fruity. Trial and error is how I taught myself to make music. 7 years later I am here getting better and better.

Your re-works are something else. How do you approach re-working a track and putting your own touch on it?

The ideas are honestly just spontaneous. I always focus on songs that I grew up listening to. The throwback feeling you get from listening to tracks. The goal with the re-works was me wanting to add my own modern touch to music that inspired me – all the beats have to have a particular bounce, which we call Mzansi Mnandi. You can only get it in South Africa.

How did the idea of #CozyFridays come about?

It was really just an idea that came about to strengthen my confidence, get people to listen and build a fan base. I always had a problem with my confidence when it came to my music. I was tired of waiting for people to put me on, so I decided to embark on this journey.

Listen to “FLWR” by KaeB below:

 

How have you found the #CozyFridays experience so far?

My fan base has grown and more opportunities to collaborate with other artists have opened up for me. The campaign has made it easier for me to create. I do not need to sit on a particular idea for too long now and have built up the ability to focus on creating whatever comes to mind as soon as the idea springs up.

Who are your biggest musical influences locally and internationally?

My foundation is definitely local and proudly South African. My influences are Lundi Tymara, Selaelo Selota, Jimmy Dludlu, Zim Ngqawana, Bhudaza, SanKomota, Joe Nina, Thandiswa Mazwai, Ringo, Lebo Mathosa, Freshly Ground, Mdu Masilela, Mandla Spikiri. I am probably the biggest Madlib fan and J Dilla was super influential in my journey in music. Also jazz artists like Miles Davis, Hugh Masikela and Thelonius Monk.

What’s the biggest positive to come from #CozyFridays?

My brand awareness is becoming stronger and more people from my country are showing love. For a long time, most of the love I received was from international folks and now that’s slowly changing with more people from home getting to know my work.

Listen to “Feel” Kaeb’s re-work of the 2005 hit “How do you feel” by TK:

 

Name a local producer we should be listening to right now?

B1, Buli, Tsukudu, Rendition, Sage Hitomi, Tweezy, Dellz and Rasco.

What prompted you to create the Rework EP?

My love for kwaito music, particularly because I feel like that era went by too fast.

KB1

Which local artists would you love to collaborate with?

Hugh Masikela and Espacito. I am currently head-hunting a lot of local producers to work with.

What else can we expect from you this year?

My group called XMPL which I am in with Joburg-based rapper Bringo. I have a lot of collaborations in the pipeline with some really dope artists and I am also gonna start DJing.

Listen to the exclusive mix below:

Phizicist ft Cartography: “Be Kind” [Single Release]

PhizicistBeKind

Phizicist reveals a softer side with his latest track “Be Kind”. The liquid drum and bass track features the incredibly dreamy vocals of Oregan-based Cartography.

Known for creating intense and hard-hitting tracks, Phizicist effortlessly balances intensity and delicacy with this track. The enchanting vocals of Cartography dance in synchronicity with Phizicist’s stellar production. The two seamlessly intertwine, and are equals in making the track as great as it is.

Listen/download “Be Kind” below:

Buli: “Lost In The Void” [EP Interview]

21462465_864773167027010_7470507786258269152_n

One of South Africa’s most unrivaled producers, Buli has mastered the art of the ambient electronic sound. His music is moving, and conjures up some of our deepest emotions. The 21-year-old creates every track with a level of maturity and emotional intelligence that far exceeds his age. He’s been producing since he was 13, and Lost In the Void is his forth EP. We spoke to Buli about the greatest moment of his career so far, the reason behind the EP’s name and what inspires his creative process.

17038918_768377873333207_3219721094893269374_o
                                                                                                                      Buli. Picture by Francois Maritz.
 

The title of the EP is quite ominous. What’s the reason behind the name?

 I just thought it was a fitting name to the overall “dark” feel of the EP as well as the art accompanying it. Shout out to Seth Pimentel (IG: @african_ginger) for being to be able to take the idea I had in mind and turn it into something “tangible”.

How long have you been working on this EP?

These tracks were made around the time I just released Feels. So I’ve been sitting with them since then and only decided to wrap them up a few months ago . The EP has been done for a while now.

 

What brought about releasing it through I Suppose Ja?

 Well, isupposeja is Vox Portent’s label…that’s the homie. I figured it would be a good fit as my sound fits with the whole “vibe” of the label.

 

Are there any collaborations on this EP?

A few, but I’m going to keep that under wraps.

BuliEPinfo

What’s been the greatest moment of your career so far?

 Playing at OppiKoppi is still by far one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced. Being on the same line up as Teebs for Low End Theory (when they came down in April) is
definitely something I’ll never forget. Teebs’ set was heavenly bro…

Your music is very emotive and ambient. Is there a reason you gravitated towards this style?

Well, that’s mostly because I started making the music I make as “Buli” around the same time I started listening to Tycho and Nosaj Thing. Tycho’s music has been a major influence in terms of trying to create the same or equivalent feel his music gives off. His music is very ambient and makes me feel like I’m lucid dreaming. That’s the feel I’m trying to give off with some songs.

What inspires your creative process?

A lot of things … it’s hard for me to explain with words. Sometimes these songs I made out of “habit”.  Usually visual shit sets off my creative process. Like I think of scenes in my head where the song would fit. Sometimes I just have an idea in mind and I just want to explore it.

What is the one thing you’re looking forward to with the release of this EP?

As with every release, I just want people to listen to it and take it from it whatever they want to. I hope they really dig it.

J.Robb: “Trash mix of trash beats” [Mix]

J.RobbMix

Baltimore-based producer and DJ j. robb is a musical phenomenon. Known for his re-works, flips and remixes of classic hip hop and r&b songs, j.robb is a producer that’s taking on the world one track at a time.

With a forward-thinking sound and musical palette, the 18-year-old’s audience is consistently growing. This mix is pure bliss and explores varied textures of hip hop, r&b and future beats. It’s is over an hour long and consists of unreleased music from the young producer, and is guaranteed to make a few thousand more j.robb fans.

Listen/download the mix below:

KAEB: “Feel” [New release]

KAEBFeel

Johannesburg-based producer KaeB releases a new track every Friday on his SoundCloud page. He calls this initiative #CozyFridays, and it’s had a significant impact on the amount of plays he’s received and his recognition as a producer.

Last Friday he released “Feel”, the monumental track where he re-worked the 2005 hit “How do you feel” from the late r&b singer and SAMA award-winner TK. The original is an undisputed local classic, that has the same impact and energy as it did when it was released. Taking a track like this and attempting to make it your own is not an easy task, however KaeB rises to the occasion does just that.

KaebLogo

This version takes the listener back in time, and creates a massive sense of nostalgia. At the same time it’s also an effective representation of what’s happening in music now. KaeB slowed its pace down and added a chunky 808 bassline to it. A classic trap drumline was also included, giving it an edgy feel and emphasising its slowed pace. A dramatic and moving atmosphere is brought across by the trumpet synths, which also help tie all the elements together. These elements follow the lead of TK’s vocals and are pristinely layered over the vocals too.

The genius lies within the simplicity of the track, and that KaeB chose to focus on key elements like the melody and vocals. Being a fan of the original and associating it with great memories, I’m happy to say this re-work does it justice and has me gleaning with pride and nostalgia.

Listen to “F E E L” below:

Stiff Pap: “Amagroovist” [GinaJeanz Remix]

20170813_KwaaiFi_06
Stiff Pap x GinaJeanz. Photograph by Ashiq Johnson.

Stiff Pap is the name that’s been rolling off tongues since last year October, when the duo released their debut track “Dlala”. The Cape Town-based act of electronic producer Jakinda and rapper AyemaProbllem, combine elements of gqom, kwaito, house and electronic music with their hair-raising creations.

20170813_KwaaiFi_05
Stiff Pap. Photograph by Ashiq Johnson.

As part of Kwaai-Fi, GinaJeanz remixed Stiff Pap’s intense and cheeky track “Amagroovist” that was released in February. The original is described as future gqom on Stiff Pap’s  SoundCloud page. It breaks ground and creates it at the same time.

20170813_KwaaiFi_04
GinaJeanz. Photograph by Ashiq Johnson.

GinaJeanz takes the beautiful chaos of “Amagroovist”, and creates a track that surpasses genre and has an enthralling flow to it. Her approach is subtler compared to the original, however not making it any less masterful. The GinaJeanz stamp is firmly placed on the original, as she morphs it into a volcanic concoction of trap, and rhythmic future beat elements. The melody and synths are both lush and refreshing, and brings across the right dosage of attitude and confidence. Like Stiff Pap, she’s a visionary and this remix proves why she’s the queen of future beats right now.

Listen to the remix below:

DJ Maramza: “5 Tiger” [Fernando Remix]

Kwaai-Fi

Kwaai-Fi is back with a brand new remix from Fernando, the up-and-coming Cape Town-based producer that’s making waves with his hip hop-centric beats. He remixed DJ Maramza’s “5 Tiger”, a house, kwaito and future beat infused track from the EP Low Magic released last year.

Fernando
Fernando.

Heavily influenced by hip hop and producers Madlib and J Dilla, Fernando’s love for the genre is reflected in everything he creates. The remix not only articulates his love for hip hop, but why he’s a producer that deserves all your attention.

Fernando effortlessly melts together hip hop, future beat and bass elements with the remix. It’s raw and unassuming, and can be described as a hybrid between lo-fi, kwaito and house. Several layers of the original are peeled back. Despite this, the groove remains unshakeable, and it’s immensely compelling. The remix gives us a peek into Fernando’s seemingly limitless ingenuity. It’s a brave feat remixing a DJ Maramza original, but this remix confidently stands its ground.

Listen to the remix below:

 

 

 

Under Pressure Sundays: [Interview]

UPS-yunginnn boy
Illustration by DrugFreeSports.

Under Pressure Sundays is the collective doing things differently, by offering its audience a unique audio and visual experience. UPS began last year, and the initial concept of releasing weekly playlists every Sunday is what set it apart from other collectives, and intrigued listeners and artists alike. We spoke to UPS to learn about its origins, the artists involved and the relationship between its visual and audio elements. UPS also created an exclusive mix of original tracks from previous playlists.

 

ups1
SZN 3.3 Illustration by Musonda Kabwe.

 

How would you describe UPS to someone who’s never heard of it before?

UPS displays music made in people’s comfort zones, allowing them to extend that intimate experience into this intimate space.

Who created UPS and why?

The concept of UPS was something that was very spontaneous. It was founded by Bonolo Thomas aka Bo’s Hub and DrugFreeSports. Bonolo is a 23-year-old student, producer and DJ. DrugFreeSports is a 24-year-old student, photographer, visual artist, painter and producer. The two are really good friends who exchange and create music, alongside other homies including Lazy Ent, TH3KWL3ST aka DJ Mdubulo and Satori Nova. UPS had intended to be a safe space for us all to drop beats and tracks we had made with each other and by ourselves. The structure of our weekly drops pushed us beyond our comfort zones, which brought about a sense of momentum (which was very exciting) and things seemed grow from then.

 

How would you describe the UPS sound?

This is a tough question because UPS is bound by nothing. It’s a fluid music space that is open to anyone who wants in. UPS incorporates a variety of sounds including down-tempo house, afro-house remixes, hip-hop flips, sounds coupled with dialogues and conversations, experimental bassy beats, gqomish bassy beats, soul feels, ambient vibes, garagey vibes, lo-fi beats, space travel shit and we’ve now received really sick rap and lyrical content from heavy, heavy dudes.
ups2
SZN 2.5.

 

How is UPS different from any other collective or platform out there right now?

The openness of the UPS page forces it to be diverse, and this might be the main characteristic that distinguishes it from other platforms or collectives. There’s also potential for multi-dimensional growth that transcends a space that is solely musical, which adds to the unpredictability of UPS.

 

Is there a vision for UPS?

Each of the UPS team members, as well as it’s contributors have some sort of vision for their artistry that UPS has potential to contribute towards. Right now, this is the driving force, as there isn’t a distinct vision UPS seeks to achieve other than to facilitate artistic growth and to share each other’s good music, visual pieces, poetry etc.

 

How do you go about choosing artists to be part of each playlist?

During the first season we sourced tracks from our homies Dada Shiva, Lazy Ent, Justice Machaba and other talented beat makers. We also got beat submissions from homies we didn’t know that had the sauce. Right now, we source from people we come across that are packing the heat, and we receive submissions from those who want in.

 

UPS3
SZN 3.5

 

Each playlist has its own persona, which is also brought across with the artwork. Was it a conscious decision to make the artwork such an integral part of the UPS experience?

Each drop represents a new body of work so the tracklist is not random. Instead, it is well curated and thought out for the benefit of the experience, and so is the artwork. Our role as the team is to ensure cohesion in the sense that the pieces of art we source and receive are appropriately coupled together (both on a musical and visual level). There may be elements of randomness, but the broader intended outcome follows a hands-on type of process.

There hasn’t been a new season in a while. Can we expect one anytime soon?

We’d prefer to keep the structure to two seasons per year, given what is required of the artists who contribute to UPS. It is the most realistic way to do things because everyone has their own outside hustle that they’re pushing. Having said that, a fourth season is definitely underway.

 

Are there any exciting developments in the works that we should look out for?

There are a number of projects that are in the works with people we have met through this platform, as well as through other mediums. As much as it is exciting it is very premature to elaborate on, but watch this space yo!

Listen to the mix below:

Fosta: “Where Have You Been?” ft. Fancy Galada [Omar Morto remix]

kwaaifivol1

 Kwaai-Fi is the platform pushing the vast landscape of sounds coming out of Cape Town right now, focusing on deep house, sjoko joko, future beats, kwaito and anything fresh out the Cape. Kwaai-Fi Volume 1 was released last November and included six tracks of original music and remixes from heavyweights FOSTA, Dunn Kidda, Terrasoul and DJ Maramza. After some silence the platform is back with a remix of FOSTA’s latest track from Omar Morto, and the promise of regular tracks for the rest of the year.

Fosta_Pic_by_AshiqJohnson3
                    FOSTA (Picture by Ashiq Johnson)
Omar_Morto_Pic_by_AshiqJohnson2
Omar Morto (Picture by Ashiq Johnson)

FOSTA released “Where Have You Been” two months ago on his label 021 Records. The track fuses his energetic afro house style with the glorious vocals of Cape Town-based Fancy Galada. From the production to the vocals it’s a masterpiece, and pulls the listener in with its stirring emotion.

Omar Morto stripped down the afro house track, and created a bold chill wave remix. He built it around key elements of the original like the melody, vocals and drum line, but also completely reinvented it. The remix is a dark and chilling rendition, that’s as intriguing as it is profound. Its simplicity and minimal tone make it so effective. The bass is weighty and tempo slowed, and it’s just as commanding and emotionally gripping as the original. The only critique is that it’s way too short.

Listen to Omar Morto’s remix below: