Kassian – Supercontinent

A modular approach to Amapiano and Baile Funk from the wide-ranging London duo...

In between a prime time slot every Friday on Rinse FM and hopping on decks across the globe, you’ll find Kassian meticulously tinkering in their hardware-filled studio. With productions that span techno, bass, house and electronica (and DJ sets that also touch all the bases), the London duo made up of Warren Cummings and Joe Danvers understand the power of variety and interconnectivity. ‘Supercontinent’ takes this to the extreme. In their latest EP, Kassian look back to a time when South America and Africa made up one place, and—with the help of their machines—bring it to modern-day dancefloors by blending Baile funk and amapiano with acid and electro.

‘Supercontinent’s South African-influenced A-side is where Kassian really shows their chops. ‘Yena’, the project’s lead single, is hypnotic. Its thudding drums build a powerful backdrop for the echoing chants that flow throughout the track. The song feels like it’s constantly bubbling, but it doesn’t need a massive drop to feel fully satisfied. It’s more bare-bones than the others but holds up a major highlight. ‘Yami’ gets a little weirder, adding more of an acid touch with warbling synths and hissing vocals that riff across its otherwise simple drums. You can see Kassian get more playful here, ditching the simple structure of the intro for their usual multi-part storytelling.

A mixture of minimalism and experimentation hits the sweet spot in ‘Sistema Baile’, which follows the vocal-drivenness of ‘Yena’ while fully taking advantage of its six minutes to explore uncharted territory. Amid the steady bassline and consistent vocals, new sounds sporadically build upon the beat. Bouncing synths become fuzzy wobbles, leading into a trance-inducing interlude of oscillating high-pitched notes. It comes full circle once the drums reappear, bringing it back to the familiar rhythms from the first half.

With every release, Kassian make it clear you’ll be getting something different every time. The bass-forward ‘Supercontinent’ follows their techno-heavy K7! debut, ‘Phase Two’, with only a self-released downtempo EP, ‘Intimate Empty Room’, in between. The rise of amapiano and Baile funk on dancefloors across the globe, probably isn’t a coincidence, but it doesn’t feel like the duo is pandering to the crowd either. The way they’re able to deconstruct a genre shows how open they are to studying the music, and it’s why they’re so good at making it their own.

8/10

Words: Arielle Lana LeJarde

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