This genre, which I should probably add to my list, is called "Afro-Futurism". Spoek Mathambo is part of a new breed of African artists, a new wave of energy in Africa, which is intent on nurturing a sense of progressiveness while maintaining a pride in culture.
Most recently, Spoek Mathambo has finished recording his solo album, "Mshini Wam" for BBE. The album is a sign to the world of what Africa has in store in terms of progressive electronic music. Spoek has risen to become one of the foremost recognised exporters of the new South African club music (which he has coined as Township Tech). I find his style to be inspiring, esthetically and musically.
You've just started your set, or maybe it has been a while, and the party is booming. You know exactly what’s the next track going to be, and you know where you are going to take the crowd. It happens exactly then. You see this dude/girl, glassy eyed, trying to establish eye contact, approaching slowly enough so you’ll notice.
“I am really sorry, I know it’s annoying, but…”
“Say, do you have…”
I’ve always asked myself what brings a person to ask for a song. Can the institution which is the disc-jockey (aka DJ) really be summed up to a “Request Hotline”? I did some research, and you people are going to be the ones to decide.
The DJ’s side:
Being a DJ is about having a great taste in music, about understanding music in a very unique way. This colorful approach enables you to create a style, to blend some character to the music you select and collect, to provide your crowd with the latest and hippest sounds. It’s about being able to surprise, to rejuvenate, while creating an organic set framed as a story.
After establishing this it takes time to be able to communicate with your crowd, read their minds, their movements. Know "when and where", how to build up the vibe, have a beginning middle and end. Building up a party is hard, especially if you have four hours of demanded fun you have to fill, and a crowd that rightfully expects to be fully entertained all along the way. So you work with crowds for some time, improve your skills, find out when to drop your bangers and when you take the crowd on a deep ride of reminiscence in 80’s New-wave, or 90’s Dance.
On top of that you add your technique, your style. Beat matching (that means playing songs that have the same tempo), Key matching (playing songs that harmonize), Mashing, Sampling, Looping, Breaking, etc. That’s where the big boys really show their skill. Going to a 2manyDJ’s gig is more than a musical orgasm, it’s a show, it’s a performance.
When I come to play at a venue I try to combine these elements together. I give it a lot of thought, I spend a lot of time at home constructing this experience I want you people to feel – because I felt it, and it feels good!
The other side:
Well, I actually took the time and asked people that approached me the exact same question I’m asking you. Some people were sincere, some were really surprised, this is the gist of things (all the names are fake of course!). I know it’s shorter, but I hope it is as sincere.
[No Gaga fans were hurt making this survey]
Avi (The romantic): I heard your set, and this song just popped into my mind. I love this song, I’ve played it like a million times on my stereo, I know people love it in general, and I’m sure people will love it if you play it right now.
Bar (The birthday girl): It’s my birthday. This thing happens once every year. You’ve got the chance to make me happy. I love this song, think of this as my birthday gift.
Gadi (The self-centered): The DJ’s job is to make sure I’m having fun.
Dana (The innocent): At my school dance the DJ played all the songs I asked for. I thought it’s just something you people do.
Hila (The temptress): Because I’m very cute, and you like me.
[All of the people above got their request played eventually... I think...]
So I’m still puzzled. While I do understand and sympathize with song requesters (at least some of them) I still can’t say I’m totally apposing or supporting.
Homework is Tom Waist and Zip Stolk, two youngsters from Amsterdam that started messing around with turntables, back in 2007.
Their original mixes and remixes demonstrate a wide-raging love for contemporary dance music. Their sound could be described as a unique combination of a deep minimal electro beat combined with an 'anything goes' approach to sampling everything from Eastern chanting to Gypsy strumming.
I bumped into these guys listening to their Lenny Kravits Remix/Re-edit (thanks Gal), and found out these guys have a lot more to say.
So, on this weekly corner we are going to have a featured forgotten or not very well known artists and some links to his/her music. And this week - Charles Hamilton.
Raised in Harlem, New York, creating music that is mostly is sample-driven. I would describe it mostly as having a slow and deep experimental sound surrounds his well crafted M.C.ing:
“When I sample, I’m not just doing it to sound good. I’m trying to tell a story. To convey an emotion. If I sampled it, there is a reason I sampled it. I believe that music is based on moments, and that there are some moments that people may have missed back in the day. They may have even missed it a year ago. When I sample, I’m giving the artist their respect, while simultaneously creating something new.”
Musician. Producer. Songwriter. Lyricist. Genius. Psycho. Hippie. Sonic the Hedgehog. This guy.