Blacswet — ‘Blacswet’ EP

The other day I covered a collaboration between bacardi house founder DJ Spoko and Chilean producer/label owner Matias Aguayo, stating that ‘Something About The Groove’ worked quite so well because of the rhythmic infusion resulting from their disparate geographical backgrounds.

Another South African who has always been open to a collab is Soweto’s finest Spoek Mathambo. One of the more forward thinking musicians in the country for a minute now, the list of tracks that he’s featured on, and had others feature on, is exhaustive. He also clearly has a special ear for new talent. As far back as 2014 he gave a certain Josiah Wise a slot on ‘Sefty Belt’…the same Josiah Wise who released the incredible ‘blisters’ EP as serpentwithfeet a couple of years later.

His latest collaboration is with French producers The Imposture, and together they go by the name Blacswet. I totally missed it at the time, but they released their eponymous 6-track EP on Friday via Teka Records (Spoek’s label).

While Spoko and Aguayo jammed out together in the studio, Mathambo and The Imposture worked remotely, sending eachother “100s of file transfers, emails and chats”. Long distance working relationships ftw.

Given how it came together, the result is surprisingly coherent, and plays well to the strengths of both artists and styles. The single note funk guitar that ushers in opener ‘The High Life’, along with the track’s general gloss-sheen production, harks back to the golden days of Euro disco, while the African influence is clear in much of the percussion as well as Mathambo’s part-spoken part-sung part-rapped vocal. Throughout the collection the beat oscillates between 4/4 and syncopated rhythms, and the ethereal atmospheres conjured by the pair are a constant highlight. There are some really nice jazzy refrains incorporated too, and Mathambo’s broad musical palette gets a good work out.

The closing track ‘Libalela’, featuring Langa Mavuso, is a personal favourite at this stage, but I’ll let you make your own mind up.

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