DJ Black Low: Uwami (Awesome Tapes From Africa, 2021)

March 25, 2021 at 10:51 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

DJ Black Low: Uwami

I’ve been really feeling what I’ve been hearing from South Africa’s amapiano scene lately. Teno Afrika’s stripped-down instrumental release Amapiano Selections (digitally released last year, now available physically) got me into it, and Sun-El Musician has done some absolutely beautiful things with the sound in more of a pop context. The first album from DJ Black Low does have a variety of guest vocalists, but it’s a lot rougher and more homegrown than what’s currently conquering the charts and airwaves throughout Africa now, and he also tweaks things and adds some weirder sounds than Teno Afrika does. The sound is generally an easy midtempo beat with shakers and syncopated drums, and percussive yet melodic bass, as well as pianos and high-pitched keyboard melodies. It’s sort of deep house, sort of kwaito, sort of a less tense gqom, but ultimately something all its own. The tracks with guests vocalists Licy Jay are standouts, but it’s hard to disagree with anything here. Definitely looking forward to hearing more stuff like this, and how artists like Black Low push the style further.

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