Phelimuncasi - Ama Gogela Music Album Reviews

Phelimuncasi - Ama Gogela Music Album Reviews
The South African gqom trio explores the joy and disorder of sensory overload on its vibrant second album.

Phelimuncasi want to jolt their audience into a mad, uninhibited state of dance. The South African trio of Makan Nana, Khera, and Malathon makes harsh and propulsive gqom, a vigorous strain of house music that sprung from Durban townships in the early 2010s. On their restless and vibrant second album, Ama Gogela—named after a menacing South African bee—Phelimuncasi enlist a glossary of local producers to shape their scorching, urgent club cuts. Uninterested in subtlety or the slow burn of build-ups, they prefer sensory overload: clattering, repetitive polyrhythms and snarled call-and-response vocals.

Gqom is inherently democratic. Its exact origin point is unknown, and the genre has generated a kind of DIY lore: Some guy futzing with production software in his bedroom birthed a more rugged and intense variant of kwaito—the cleaner, mainstream style of South African house. It is more likely that a handful of nascent producers conducted this experiment simultaneously, tapping into the collective unconscious of Durban and its surrounding communities. Produced largely on FruityLoops, early gqom tracks were unmixed and unmastered, passed around in massive WhatsApp group chats and offered as free downloads on websites dedicated to the genre. Though the songs were often too low quality for radio airplay, local taxis would blast the latest hits from their consoles to attract people pouring out of nightclubs.

Conservatives targeted the genre, who condemned its artists for encouraging delinquent behavior and drug use. Certain tracks were banned from South African radio, while local venues endured a rash of police raids. Phelimuncasi allude to this brand of artistic oppression frequently on Ama Gogela. On the creeping, drone-spurred “Maka Nana,” featuring South African rapper Bhejane, the MCs cite an approaching police van and subsequent arrests. “We just having fun,” they sing, volleying lines back and forth in isiZulu over DJ Scoturn’s crispy hi-hats. “This is dark entertainment.” Rather than buff out blemishes with gleaming pop melodies, Phelimuncasi embrace the grit with a barrage of guttural bass and hissing percussion.

Phelimuncasi’s work is often self-referential, documenting the club scene in their local Mlaszi township—the drinks and dance moves but also the disorder. In this way they shape their own narrative, one of defiance and camaraderie. Like so many schools of censored art—punk, Dada, drill—Phelimuncasi’s work points to an entire community pushing back. They are strengthened by the collective; their music, with its snapping, incessant beats, provokes a physical response, designed to be heard in public. On “​​Kdala Ngiwa Ngivuka,” Malathon admits to being “hardened” by history but strives to rejoice in spite of adversity. “Please stop hating,” he sings in his low, round register as robotic chirps echo in the background. “Just listen to my good music and dance like you don’t have a future.”

Phelimuncasi have described their music as “irresistible” and “painful,” and their best songs incite a ceaseless, fanatical response on par with The Red Shoes. Maximalist opener “I Don’t Feel My Legs” perfects this frenzy; rubbery bass notes propel the track as Makan Nana and Khera’s voices tangle like crossed telephone lines. Sirens caterwaul in the distance and a simmering beat buzzes like the mechanized stab of a tattoo needle. Its density and insistent rhythm feels all-encompassing, with the momentum of a densely-packed, chanting crowd. The Net Gala-produced “Ngiphupha Izinto” is another offbeat banger, bursting with plasticky drum trills and a springy synth pattern that sounds like wingdings transposed into musical notation. The song perpetuates the group’s self-made mythology, as they envision crowds around the globe flailing to their music. Listening to Ama Gogela, far from the heaving dancefloor, you can almost see it for yourself.

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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.
Phelimuncasi - Ama Gogela Music Album Reviews Phelimuncasi - Ama Gogela Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on May 23, 2022 Rating: 5


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