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Teno Afrika - Where You Are Music Album Reviews

Teno Afrika - Where You Are Music Album Reviews
The South African 23-year-old follows up his scene-sketching debut with this taut eight-track collection of luxurious amapiano designed for the genre’s growing mainstream audience.

Amapiano translates, from the Zulu, to “the pianos.” But it’s the log drum—or, more specifically, the thick-thumping, springy pluck of a bass sound that the Fruity Loops DX10 synthesizer calls a log drum—that’s come to define this vibrant strain of South African house music. Teno Afrika, aka 23-year-old Lutendo Raduvha from Pretoria, situated in the country’s densely populated and fervently creative Gauteng province, is one of the scene’s most visible proponents. He bends amapiano’s stocky percussive trademark into something tinged with acid technicolor stretch marks. Where You Are, the follow-up to 2020’s scene-sketching Amapiano Selections, is a taut eight-track collection that lays down a marker of where this fast-mutating sound is at right now.

Teno’s take on amapiano is in many ways typical of the sound’s current cresting iteration: at once gully, rude, and luxuriously slick. He plies a minimal take on the already-svelte sound, hefting emphasis onto his log bass, rolled snare cracks, and deftly hypnotic synth flicks and stabs. This is particularly the case on “Bells,” a gut-busting five-and-a-half-minutes of pacy dips and curls, its log sound pushed to a deliriously tweaking distortion. “Gomora Groove” and “Halaal Flavour” are similarly potent, their pulsing basslines like Semtex: firm, yet flexible, and concealing an explosive core. These are party tracks, with cousins in UK funky, and elder uncles in Pretoria’s melange of kwaito, diBacardi, gqom, and stateless hybrids like Mujava’s “Township Funk” or “Saka Saka.”

On occasion, Teno dips into the more luxurious, soulful strains of what’s become known as Harvard Amapiano. The sub-genre is slicker, smoother and more indebted to the self-indulgent, self-aware cool of deep house and Afrotech. Tracks like the hazy, Leyla-featuring “Where You Are” lean into this aspirational, penthouse aesthetic—its drifty pads conjure perfume ads more than sweat-dripped dances. The introduction of (mostly female, often singing) vocalists is a relatively new turn within the scene’s near-decade span to date, and one that’s grown consistently since the genre broke onto mainstream SA radio and out into modern metropolises like London, Tokyo, and Los Angeles over the summers of 2020 and 2021. These are songs destined, if not designed, to attract a more mainstream, radio-friendly audience. Teno’s nod to the trend reflects the sound’s evolution to meet the constraints of search engines and radio playlists, but doesn’t go so far as to pour concrete into the amapiano mold. On the KayCee-featuring “Fall In Love,” he flips vocals into pops and trills, with dashes of distortion for good measure; and on “Duma ICU,” with regular collaborator Stylo MusiQ, those plush synths take on an icier temperature, paired with a warbling synth that sounds like a cartoon UFO landing. So it is that with each fork, a gap forms and something fresh fills it—spreading and sprawling with the same energy and human ingenuity as the fizzing townships from where the sound originated.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Teno Afrika - Where You Are Music Album Reviews Teno Afrika - Where You Are Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, February 17, 2022 Rating: 5

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