Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Serious fun as south London meets South Africa
on LV's 'Sebenza'

First published in Loud And Quiet


Hyperdub continues its run of boundary-pushing releases with the second album from LV, which combines the London-based production team's beats with the words of Okmalumkoolkat (one half of the Johannesburg electro-rap-whatever duo Dirty Paraffin), Cape Town MCs Ruffest and the already established Spoek Mathambo, whose debut 'Father Creeper' inspired bewildered fascination in this reviewer in March.

Unlike Mathambo's pick-and-mix of western pop, LV & co. have located a sweet spot somewhere between the dance sounds of south London and South Africa. Dubby UK bass underpins languid raps on 'Zulu Computer', while 'Animal Prints' sounds like glossy bubbles of UK funky being popped by stabs of South African kwaito, over which Mr Koolkat seems to be freestyling a safari (“Zebra, giraffe / animal prints”). Ruffest contributes to a crisp and clinical trio of tracks and Mathambo appears just once, on the sultry comedown 'Work'. Serious fun.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Aren't we after all better actors than Marlon Brando? R. Stevie Moore's late flowering

First published in Loud And Quiet

R. Stevie Moore
Lo Fi High Fives: A Kind Of Best Of
Ogenesis Recordings


This frizz-bearded, pot-bellied 60-year-old is having his long overdue moment in the spotlight – you might've seen him staring out from June's cover of The Wire or tearing up the Quietus stage at Field Day. The unlikely creator of over 400 albums of DIY songcraft, R. Stevie Moore is Gandalf the White to Ariel Pink's faithful Bilbo, the original purveyor of retrolicious AM radio power-pop, blending the harmonic lushness of the Beach Boys with the acerbic weirdness of Talking Heads and the barminess of The Flaming Lips.

If it wasn't for his outwardly oddball demeanour, with the flip-up shades and splendid lyrics (“Aren't we after all better actors than Marlon Brando? Showbiz is obsolete”), he would've been up there with those songwriting greats, or at least hollering from the sidelines with Van Dyke Parks. Massively recommended, along with his website, another lo-fi trove of obscurities.