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Review: What’s Sketchy Bongo Debut Album Unmasked Like?

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Sketchy Bongo is without a shred of doubt one of South Africa’s most talented music production virtuosos.

And after a run making waves and churning out summer smash hits with the likes of Shekhinah, AKA, Da L.E.S, Aewon Wolf and Jimmy Nevis amongst others, the 27 year old Durbanite has finally liberated a full body of work.

Sketchy Bongo UnMasked Album Review

Unmasked is a 14 track synthetic dovetail of Sketchy Bongo’s unique vibe exploring different sounds to create a rich, solid listen who’s listener will not be easily pinned down as a strict lover of a specific genre.

Much like the stylistically masked Wolf Pack producer himself, the album’s identity creates a new niche for Sketchy – bringing together EDM, Pop, Dance and Hip Hop amongst others – weaved seamlessly and blended into one addictive, groovy, acoustic and beachy listen.

During a time when there’s an ongoing debate on whether or not Hip Hop has finally dethroned house music as the country’s leading commercial genre, and whether or not Durban will soon become the new hub for the local music business, this album goes beyond those conversations to appeal to people who love having a good time listening to a solid record.

You’re likely already in love with tracks 13 and 14, Let You Know and Back To Beach featuring Shekhinah. Both songs garnered both artists national recognition and plenty commercial success, and as well awakening the masses to the emergence of an alternative Durban bred sound that blended genres that had not be explored as much locally.

Sketchy Bongo UnMasked Album Review

Both tracks were loved for their relaxed, soulful mid tempo dance vibes. They were also somewhat beachy, something fresh for a country who’s been listening to music cooked in studios where there’s no beach anywhere near.

Well, Unmasked is this feeling.

Blast From The Past with Shekhinah strategically opens the album. We’ve come to know of the unfailing magic that comes out from Shekhinah’s powerhouse soulful vocals and his masterful instrumentations and the opening song solidifies that. Naturally, the song is ready for the Top 40, the beach, the taxi boot and the club. It’s beautiful, relaxed, groovy, soulful and addictive.

We are gonna go ahead and name Walk On The Clouds one of our favourite songs so far in 2017. The marriage between Tresor’s beautiful and haunting vocals and Sketchy’s distinct assembly of organic reverberations is so perfect it’s almost hard to believe this song waited this long to born.

But because Sketchy Bongo has refined the art of exploring different genres and introducing them to his world without much drama, we are also treated to some trap on track 3, Having Fun featuring Durban rap group WTF, as well as Wolf Pack homie Aewon Wolf. The song is a bit of a detour from what we started at the beginning of the album, but the catchy hook makes that worthy.

One of my personal favourites in this album is Love Me In The Dark with Kaien Cruz, so much that I had to keep it on repeat a few times before resuming. First of all, you just have to find out more about Kaien Cruz! Her effortlessly beautiful, yet simple, clean and authentic vocals work well with the dance tune. The song has a very easy going feel, although the kicks take a bigger spotlight on this one than the previous songs. Reminds me of All About It with Jimmy Nevis, a song I will forever thank for good times on the treadmill.

The producer’s collaboration with dance twin brethen duo Locnville on Blue Moon is sure to extend his reach to new spaces, and will sure score him him bigger deals than that MTV Base exclusive. The album now takes a turn to pure electro, complete with robotic vocals. You know some Shimmy Beach gigs in Cape Town are coming.

It’s back to EDM again on Sheen Skalz on Get Right. Rap and EDM, yes! Again, another personal fave. Simply grand in world class production, rich enough to be play listed at your party when you want guests to have a good time.

Furaha Lakini Maskini was entirely surprising. We’ve mentioned here how Sketchy Bongo is clearly unafraid to put his skills in full use exploring different sounds and finding a smart way of fitting it within his own, but the collaboration with Gemini Major and Aewon Wolf takes us to that blend of dance and organic African traditional instrumentation for an authentic continental jam.

All in all, Unmasked is a grand, solid debut album from Sketchy Bongo. Go and get it, you will not regret!


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Music

Black Coffee Has Announced A Concert At The Dome

He’s thrilled massive crowds globally, and now Black Coffee is bringing his deep house sets to a concert at the Dome this December!

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Black Coffee concert at the Dome

South Africa’s biggest house music DJ and Producer, Black Coffee, has announced a concert at the Dome this December!

Black Coffee concert at the Dome

The announcement comes just days after Coffee walked away with the Best Deep House DJ gong at the DJ Awards in Ibiza, Spain, where he is also currently completing a successful residence.

RELATED: BLACK COFFEE’S DRIVE IS HERE 

Entitled Music Is King, the show will be taking place at the TicketPro Dome on the 15th of December. And it because the show will be happening just a day before the Day of Reconciliation public holiday, you’ve got a bundle of partying joy lined up for you this festive.

RELATED: HUNTER’S HOSTED ONE HELL OF A PARTY WITH BLACK COFFEE

Following the exciting announcement, #MusicIsKing trended all day on Twitter, with music fans and artists complimenting Black Coffee for bringing his globally celebrated deep house sets back into our shores.

Tickets are already available at WebTickets

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Music

AKA’s Fela In Versace Video Premieres To Mixed Reviews

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AKA Fela In Versace Music Video
Photo: Austin Malema via Instagram

AKA’s Fela In Versace music video was met with mixed reactions from fans when it premiered on Wednesday.

While die-hard fans are thrilled by the first motion picture from the Touch My Blood album, others are let down by the visual’s aesthetic, creative direction and technical quality.

The video arrived on Wednesday following a promotional drive that began last month, when the rapper first teased fans with lush looking behind the scene photos.

AKA Fela in Versace behind the scenes photos

Photo: Austin Malema via Instagram

Delighting his social media followers with glimpses of the video, AKA debuted his gold box fade as he showcased his outfit, which included a R25 000 Cornici Balletto print shirt.

RELATED: AKA’S TOUCH MY BLOOD ALBUM REVIEW

Shot in Joburg. the music video centers on showcasing the skhothane subculture, which is defined by, amongst other things, the setting of expensive brands on fire. That happens here in between freeze frame edits that produce these cool body doubles of AKA.

Some fans have slammed the video – likening its “disappointing” quality to that of an amateur Powerpoint presentation, while some have drawn comparisons to rival, Cassper Nyovest’s Tito Mboweni video.

Others are vibing with AKA’s latest music video, complimenting SUPAMEGA for continuing his winning streak

What are your thoughts on it? Scrawl down to post a comment!

 

 

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Events

Trompies, Sjava, Distruction Boyz and DBanj To Headline One Source Live

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Trompies

Iconic Kwaito group Trompies will be returning to the stage for the first time in aeons at the looming One Source Live shindig.

The maestros are billed to perform at the One Source Festival on Saturday 17th! Joining a line of up of the hottest acts covering a vast spectrum of genres, a list including Nigerian legend D’banj, our very own BET winner S’java, top selling Hip Hop lyricist Shane Eagle, as well Gqom innovators, Distruction Boyz.

The richly curated festival will be taking place downtown at No 1 Fox Street in the Jo’burg Inner City.

The One Source Live creative revolutionaries Khuli Chana, Sho Madjozi, Trevor Stuurman and Osborne Macharia will return to the festival with new installations and musical collaborations which will be announced later.

RELATED: The 2nd Bacardi Holiday Club Returns In March  

ONE SOURCE LIVE unfolds over multiple stages and platforms in a multimedia festival that celebrates African Creativity as a driver of positive change in the world:

The ABSOLUT ART BAR, the epicenter of the festival, is a curated art and performance space by day, transforming into the headline stage after dark.

The DISCOVERY STAGE has Sho Madjozi hosting a specially curated set of performances and live recordings of new collaborations with budding artists; building on her amazing material from the first festival.

Creativity goes back to its source in the STREET ART ZONE with art installations, food trucks, a street performance stage, fashion pop-ups, and street photographers.

The African Creative Revolution continues, join and celebrate the power of African creativity at ONE SOURCE LIVE.

 

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