There’s a grand debate that rages around the blogverse: that it takes Euro-focussed filthy electro hip hop or a verse from M.I.A. or, in the case of Vampire Weekend or El Guincho, afro-beat & other ‘tropical’ sounds refracted through the lens of skinny white kids, for most Westerners to engage with African music. This is not a new debate: traditional ‘world music’ has often faced similar charge – that ‘vehicles’ such as Peter Gabriel or Sting, or generally hapless branding exercises, are required in order for anyone north-west of the contintent to start to engage and take notice.
Whilst my experience of running Fat Planet tends to suggest otherwise (or was at least an exception that proves the rule), it’s certainly a given that only the truly hipster fringes of new African music receive the most media space, and there’s a great deal that’s left unsaid (start with CIAfrica, Nomadic Wax, 9ice, Damo Do Bling amongst others).
That’s not to say that those initial examples are not without merit, far from it in many cases. If we were to dismiss the blogverse’s contribution to the promotion of African music as being too hipster-inclined, we may well have missed Esau Mwamwaya or the growth of Kuduro. The accusation rather, which does stand up to interrogation, is that blog engagement is generally shallow and transient. That’s the sad side of the story, that whilst we celebrate the volume of blog posts of new African sounds, we despair about the lack of depth or ongoing commitment. When I blogged about this at the cessation of Fat Planet, some commentators suggested that ‘light posts are better than no posts’, but it feels that an intermediate position is the most realistic – a position I’ve been attempting to undertake on Discontent.
And so to Spoek Mathambo. As one half of Sweat X, Soweto’s Spoek (aka Nthato Mokgata) has been a constant blog presence over the last 12-18 months, turning blog heads onto electro and hip hop South African sounds. Whether it’s his work with Playdoe (with Sibot), Bulgarian or DJ Edjotronic (with a new 12″ on Boyz Noize dropping soon), Spoek’s name repeatedly resurfaces – of late, in the form of his own ongoing mix series. This latest mix practically opens and closes with work from England’s seminal Cabaret Voltaire, however sandwiched in between are what Spoek defines as “South Afrikan tech, kwaito and UK funky”.
Spoek Mathambo – H.I.V.I.P. Dezemba Liazonz Mix | zshare
CABARET VOLTAIRE – DECAY
SIDELELE – BIG NUZ (SPOEK MATHAMBO ‘BELL HOP’ REFIX )
IZINJA – BIG NUZ
GEENEUS – INTO THE FUTURE
DURBAN FUNK – BUBZIN
KHOLOI – BUJO MUJO
SEDUCER – CNDO FEAT. BIG NUZ
GEENEUS – NIGHT REMIX
DJ SKHOKHO – 04
DJ BONGS – BANGA
GEENEUS – YELLOWTAIL (SPOEK MATHAMBO ‘MONATE FELA’ REFIX)
?? – NO STRINGS ATTACHED
CNDO – TERMINATOR
CABARET VOLTAIRE – VIBRATIONS
RISQUE RYTHUM TEAM – THE JACKING ZONE
DJ SKHOKHO – 08 (SPOEK MATHAMBO ‘AIDS IN THE HOSTEL’ REFIX)