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Music

DJ Black Low: Uwami (CD, May 2021, Awesome Tapes From Africa)

A really impressive debut from this 20-year-old South African producer Sam Austin Rabede, alongside a wide range of collaborators and vocalists. The beats are, I gather, amapiano: rooted in house music, but with some really strong syncopation and tonnes of improvised-sounding frills and flourishes. (I’ll confess I’d not heard of the genre before, but then I’m officially Bad At Genres; it’s definitely something I’ll be keeping an ear out for.) Sonically, it’s really ambitious, both in terms of the restless virtuosity of much of the programming and the wide variety of additional instruments. The melodies are spry, the basslines are satisfying, and the MCing (in, I read, SePedi, Satswana, and isiZulu) is infectious. I defy you not to bounce along happily to album highlight Down The Road, with its ‘hup hup’ rhythmic counterpoint and its outrageously cheeky little keyboard line. This album just sweeps me along effortlessly and I think it might be the most straightforwardly satisfying thing I’ve heard all year.

I bought this from the artist’s Bandcamp page.

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