One of the fathers of the shangaan electro sound it was only a matter of time Nozinja would release a full studio album.
For someone who has been ingrained in defining the sound for the past decade, it shouldn't be terribly surprising that Richard Mthetwa's debut LP is one that combines the raw ingredients that have defined the Shangaan sound. Influenced by traditional African folk, tsonga disco and kwaito house, this Warp release from Shangaan pioneer Nozinja is one that is rich in character and personality.
'Nozinja Lodge' is an album that passionately bubbles with personality; certainly an LP that doesn't carry a painted by numbers feel. Opener 'Nwa Baloyi', with its traditional African styled vocals, flow over an electronic marimba-aided bed of music that has all the hallmarks of a sped up old 16-bit video game soundtrack.
For an artist who is often tied to the possibilities of the 190 BPM tempo, it is unsurprising that 'Nozinja Lodge' has frantically-paced electronic rhythms as its foundation that come lacquered with a vibrant veneer. 'Mitshetshoi' is rich in South African spirit but carries a coating that is derived from a firm use of casio pre-sets, whilse previous single 'Tsekeleke', with its sped up chipmunk vocals, is a near five-minute journey that melds intricate bass lines with vibrantly playful synth melodies.
There's a wild-eyed energy that pulsates throughout 'Nozinja Lodge's 45-minute length and, while this may be an acquired taste, it captures shangaan electro's kaleidoscopic nature perfectly.
Words: Nathan Westley
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