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Nozinja – Nozinja Lodge (Warp Records)

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Over the last few years African dance music has been making waves across the world. One of these new found styles is Shangaan electro. Shangaan electro is a form of African dance music that takes elements from traditional folk music, but mixes in elements of African house and disco to create something vibrant and exciting. In this emerging scene one man’s name looms larger than everyone else. Nozinja. In the world of Shangaan music he has done it all, producing, promoting, writing, signing acts to his Nozinja Music label, directing videos, singing and DJ-ing, but now he has finally released his debut album, on Warp Records.

 

 

Opening track ‘Nwa Baloyi’ offers the perfect introduction to the album. In five minutes is it chocked full of great basslines, tight snares and backing vocals that make you feel great to be alive. ‘Mitshetshoi’ follows this blueprint with Day-Glo beats, retro cowbells stirring in tribal chants with an early dance music ethos. Nozinja is having fun seeing what his equipment can do and making music for the love of it rather than trying to construct intricate works of art. ‘Bay Do U Feel Me’ has summer cross over hit written all over it, the beats are superfast and slightly off kilter: the rhythm is slow, laid back and woozy. The vocals are speed up, giving the whole track the disorientating feeling you get when you go to bed after a few too many. ‘Tsekeleke’ is a straight up banger, stabby keys with vocals that sound like the chipmunks on speed. ‘Nyamsoro’ is a slightly more sombre affair, everything is slower, but when the backing vocals kick it, it gives the track a more epic feel, that some of the previous tracks miss.

 

 

What’s most impressive about Nozinja Lodge is the unending, and at times, unnerving energy and passion of it. For forty minutes the sonic assault doesn’t let up, each song doesn’t start, but slams into you and pummels you into submission, at which point it stops and the next one starts. In a world where people are always waiting for the ‘Next-Big-Thing’, Shangaan electro is that ‘Next-Big-Thing’. What sets Shangaan electro apart from say Chillwave and the whole New-Gazing scene, is Nozinja brings amazing songs to add validity to this exciting and emerging scene.

 

[Rating:4]

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