afropunk premiere: muzi, ‘stimela segolide’ ep
By Piotr Orlov
May 2, 2019
From the very beginning, Muzi’s music has been both, inescapably South African and welcoming of the entire world of solful, electronic rhythm textures. And his brand new, four-song Stimelo Segolide EP, which AFROPUNK has the honor of premiering, only takes this notion further.
Even early on in his career, when the young producer/vocalist followed an overt flirtation with such globally massive styles as EDM, trap and dembow — relocating for a spell from his hometown Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal on the eastern coast, to Berlin — he was still singing and rapping in isiZulu, using melodies he’d absorbed his entire life. But as Muzi was palette was growing, his sound was too — and it was taking him back to his roots, culminating in last year’s instant classic album, Afrovision, which presented his view of SA’s rich song culture through the prism of locality and international pop.
Stimelo Segolide [“The Gold Train”] makes the next leap. All four songs are steeped in the great choral melodies of Zulu folk and gospel that are SA’s not-so-secret musical weapon — traditions that, in Muzi’s work, are translated into fully contemporary bangers. Old and new ideas, South African and global elements, voices and rhythm are symbiotically intertwined throughout. Listen to how the layers of vocals, handclaps, mouth clicks on “Stimela,” a song about economic relocation and longing, sets up the keyboard and funk drums. Here, sonic specificities and pop generalizations are not in opposition; they’re part of a wonderful whole.
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