filastine is an interesting guy. what you might call a nomadic sonic terrorist. he travels the planet playing over 100 gigs a year dropping a heavy mixture of bass and eclectic global sounds with politically provocative video material. when i saw him live at a festival in reunion isalnd, he destroyed a shopping trolley on stage, mic’ed up as giant percussion instrument. he does not hold back when it comes to his socio-political views. the resulting cocktail is a heady brew of beat science and counter-cultutre propoganda. right up my street.
i was stoked when filastine approached me to do this remix for him, a track off his new album. the video was made at the sites of large scale natural disasters across asia. you can read all about the story here. it’s real.
my idea for the remix was to create my dub version to the original music video. i.e. use the original structure, but build and sound design my own tapestry of noise around the images. i would love to do more of this kind of hybrid remix / composing to video work.
the internet is a beautiful thing, don’t you think. just found this video on youtube. mr sean baker, whoever he may be, has mashed up my tune, dreadlox dub, with the british tv series rastamouse.
this is the reason i don’t believe current copyright laws are that useful to creative people. technically this is illegal. but it’s brilliant and should be encouraged! art does not happen in isolation, but through constant re-interpretation of existing ideas. that’s why i will be releasing all future work under a creative commons license which encourages sharing, remixing and mashups as long as the sources are credited and it is for non-commercial purposes. if this kinda thing interests you check out more at www.creativecommonsza.org.and for a giant library of creative commons media check out www.archive.org
this is a great project i’m involved in. i spent my school years in the eastern cape, so xhosa has always been my second language, albeit with limited vocab and hilarious grammar. i wanted to brush up on my xhosa skills a few years ago, so i found some beginners classes run by ubuntu bridge. there i connected with the rather mad schoolmaster, teacher and all round fun guy, quite a white ou.
apart from his xhosa teaching skills, he’s obviously got some film and drama background somewhere because he wrote the song, scripted, directed, acted in and produced a music video with a small team and an even smaller budget. this is the result.
as you can see, my role is beatz, music production, and occasional cameo roles as a tennis umpire.
we’ve played a few gigs together from the mad hatter’s festival of the flamjangled tea party, all the way to a crowd of rastas and foreign girls at teba’s birthday bash in gugulethu. every time the response is the same: big smiles from the audience. and massive love from any xhosa speakers in the crowd.
this is what happens when you throw him into a random taxi on kloof street at rush hour.
you’ll be happy to know we’re in the process of writing more tunes. the process goes something like this: quite a white ou records himself rapping acapella on his phone, emails that thru to me, i stretch the vocals into time in ableton live and build a phat beat around his voice. then he comes to the studio and we re-record the vocals properly and i keep mixing and tweaking until everyone is happy. i do enjoy the possibilities of digital technology.
watch this space for more quite a white ou tunes.
the freedom charter is a 1955 ANC document outlining the rights that all south africans are entitled to. the graffiti pieces were located to strongly contrast the spirit of this document with the harsh current reality of south africa.
i produced the music with my brother kendal beadon on piano and electric things, sindy dondolo adding the smooth female vox and ragga mc, vumile sitokisi aka ginga cobra, brought with the ruffness.
click here to check out the pieces on faith47′s website
krushed & sorted revived itself from a long slumber with the sudden ability of home computers to work with video as easily as with audio. that wasn’t happening 10 years ago, i can promise you that. suddenly in about 2009, it was a fairly simple matter to download any video you can think of in the world from youtube, stretch into time with a phat dancefloor beat in ableton and render out an instant music video remix. try it at home, it’s easy and rather fun. from there it can get a little more complex if you want to play it live. . .
our current setup involves 3 macs sync’ed over wireless lan, one runnning ableton live and vdmx, a second running vdmx being controlled entirely by midi output from ableton, and a 3rd mac running ms pinky to scratch video on vinyl. right, back to english please.
here’s a clip of us playing live @ rezonance festival, new years 2009/10.
i got approached by tumi molekane (of tumi and the volume) and tiago from 340ml to master this album, tumi – music from my good eye. i like tumi, we have a laugh. even if he likes common and i like quasimoto, we still agree on one thing – a phat beat is a phat beat.
i’d just bought my first pair of dynaudio speakers so i was very eager to run some serious sounds thru them. roach and i spent a few weeks tweaking this album to perfection. came out pretty dope if i say so myself.
check out this video from the album.
this was a great project back in the day. sibot and markus each had a solo album, as well as an album of their work together as the real estate agents. so we decided to release a triple CD on african dope records.
roach and i spent a few weeks at the secret studio in the hills of the garden route with si and markus, mixing and mastering all the tracks for maximum sonic potential. the end result was some of the dopest electronica this country has ever heard.
here’s the video for sibot’s super evil me. spot all the young faces of inga from lark, dj hi-tek from die antwoord, duncan from sshadowrks, and a very young sibot himself.
this next video promo for the real estate agents was filmed on location at the african dope offices and featuresthe real estate agents trying to sell the property to mr kelly, our crazy accountant.
the best video for me from this album was for markus’s track ringo. it was the first video from the internationally acclaimed black heart gang.
all in all a very cool project to work on.
this project took up most of 2003 for me. it started like this: alex denholm, aka juan thyme, and i were spending a lot of time in the studio making dubs with our neighbour and rock n roll legend, tim parr. we thought it would be good to get some reggae vocalists on the tunes, not realizing what insane vocal talents we would uncover in the process.
the first vocalists we met were crosby, zoro, and jesse-dan from the chronic clan in gugulethu. that’s a ghetto outside of cape town city center for you non-locals. we started recording vocals with them, which led to making more tunes, which led to us going to massive dancehall parties at the sports complex in gugulethu, and a talent show in langa, where i first met young JJ, who wowed the crowd in a three piece suit with his classic reggae style. he was 16 at the time and already a ghetto superstar. check out jj’s video called push up.
crosby called me one day and said i must meet a brother of his who had recently moved back from joburg. that night teba shumba came to my studio. having never met each other, we sat down and wrote this tune that night – check out teba’s dope xhosa rhyming on f*c*k
we also connected with red lion, a cool cat with hyped up dancehall chat style, and black dillinger, who was deeply into the conscious roots sound. many late nights in the studio, countless cups of tea and spliffs, and we soon had more songs than we knew what to do with. at that stage we called in the horn section, the infamous lee thomson and ross mc donald, aka the brass whores of cape town. danny barnaby and syd voice donated some wicked percussion licks and we soon had the making of an album.
we took three weeks out of cape town at a beautiful secret studio in the hills of the garden route to mix down and master the album. the final result: the african dope soundystem album on african dope records.
it’s funny, despite millions of south africans loving reggae, it is still the music of the poor. ie. no gigs and no real market for it. well back then anyway. even lucky dube made his name overseas. so after not much happening with the album in south africa, it came as surprise to us when we suddenly started getting bookings requests from germany. . . then austria . . . italy . . . switzerland . . . and the list goes on. we spent most of the summers of 2004 and 2005 travelling around the reggae circuit of europe, from clubs to festivals to studios, in a group and in an individual capacity. jj got a record deal in berlin, black dillinger extended his visa and stayed for years, popping in and out of the country to keep the german authorities happy. crosby played gigs in weird places like latvia. that’s about as far away from gugulethu as it’s possible to imagine.
the last time we played together as a crew was the kaloo bang festival in reunion island in 2010. it was a great reunion for all of us, staying in a hotel with the congos from jamaica (they smoked out my room) and recording some wicked tunes with local producers from the island. check out this session, with black dillinger, and super cool t.
somebody please give black dillinger a television show. he’ll record the whole thing off his telephone. he just needs an editor.
so yes, that the brief story of the african dope soundsytem, which in one way or another exposed the world to the sounds of gugulethu’s rich reggae scene.
i was first introduced to felix by a mutual friend, adam lieber, who was also into downtempo and leftfield electronica.
roach and i heard his first demo cd and decided to go thru the process with felix of tearing it apart layer by layer to enhance every nuance of the sound. the result was his first album, thin shoes in june, released on african dope in 2001.
this video for single light was made by krishna smiles, flowers bloom. felix never liked it.
the next album he brought us was so brilliantly mixed, there was no need to do anything but master the sound. in those days that meant borrowing a good analogue compressor and using some waves plugins. we released 4.4 down the stairs a year later in 2002.
check out the video for donkey rattle from that album. made by felix laband and inka kendzia after a day on table mountain with some puppets from prague.
felix is back in action, he’s played some awesome shows at festivals recently, most notably rocking the daisies in 2011. look of out for him if he’s in your area. the music is proper.
one of the first tunes i ever made. around 1998. in the spare bedroom of roach’s flat in gardens. using a cracked copy of sonic foundry acid and a yamaha A3000 sampler. we sampled the vinyl off my original childhood record which i carried around with me to play in chillrooms at raves. driving his girlfriend mad by playing the same loop over for 4 hours at a time. at full volume. we weren’t very good, but we had fun doing it.
the original video was made for the krushed & sorted album launch by peter robson aka vj sightori. somehow, despite a gremlin filled night of audio-visual synchronization issues at the launch (we were playing off VHS and home-burned CD’s), the sound and video magically re-synched perfectly when the chorus dropped for the first time. it was my first experience of audio visual magic.
500 lucky people in the world own this tune on vinyl. i am not one of them.