It was an incredibly moving feeling seeing so many up and coming artists, as well as established artists who have been plying their trade for years all put together in one room, at the Red Bull Music Academy #BasscampZA in Braamfontien this past weekend. I got flown up by Red Bull to document the week of lectures, studio sessions, parties and a general throw down, Red Bull styles which culminated in a closing party of all closing parties… But that’s a whole blog post all on it’s own!!
The Red Bull Music Academy has allowed these musicians to create, evolve and grow with the scene, as our scene grows through the awesome initiative that is the #RBMA #BasscampZA. We made our way downstairs to the first lecture at The Alexander Theater where Richard Rumney introduced us to all the participants and allowed them to showcase one song or vocal sample that they had to allow everyone else to get a feel of what they were about, some played more than one song. Everyone was a little nervous at first but after the first session, I think the music had done the talking. The music that was coming out of this lecture was incredible… South African music is so unique and it was shown clearly throughout the week.
Some artists who I really took a liking too in the first lecture was, Twelv, Card On Spokes, Nonku who sings for Crazy White Boy and has to be one of the raddest chicks in the game, Lex La Foy and Satori as well as Pyro, Crosby, Casper, Kat Le Kat, okmalumkoolkat. Kurt from Icarus is another artist to watch, dropping some Neuro Funk DnB (some seriously sick production straight out of Durban)! Robin Brink (watch out for this name), Nic Van Reneen of Battluer who works on his solo project Fever Trail and Apple Sawc. But we’ll get into more about each now now!
The Alex Theater had been transformed into a musicians dream. The newly built studio was complete while at the same time, 5 smaller studios were built for the participants to collab, share ideas and create some insane music (which you’ll get to hear soon enough)
Everyone had a chance to play one song, okmalumkoolkat aka Dirty Parafin is the bomb, he laid down some beautiful soulful afro house as his Koolkat but when he dropped his Dirty Parafin track, I was blown away. It was a darker, rawer version of Koolkat with a strong bass line, it kept my head bouncing from start to finish. One dude, Wandile aka Apple Sauce was literally from another dimension (he even said it himself). His sound was so dope, a cross between afro house with glitch breaks and a massive bass driven sound, it was just so unique, so fresh.
Sitting in the room alone gave me goosebumps, watching as artists nervously began to see who they wanted to work with, the creative pot was stirring and ideas were brewing. As I mentioned earlier, Robin Brink, the drummer for Beatenberg allowes himself to experiment with all types of electronic music. He played a very ambient down tempo lounge kind of track, it reminded me very much of something off a Cafe Del Mar album. He got in studio and made two tracks with Nonku, and I cannot wait to hear those! Watch out this name…
Gateway Drugs is another act who I really enjoyed, a synth pop infused with indie electro sound that kept me tapping my feet. He is also the drummer for the Dolfins. It’s really insane to see how many of these artists have other avenues, or projects they work on. Allowing themselves the musical freedom they desire. No artist should ever be boxed into one sound. And the Red Bull Music Academy has allowed that possibility!
The most beautiful thing about this first lecture was how accepting everyone was of everyone else’s sound. Heads were bopping to hip hop, DnB, deep house, afro house, glitch hop and that put a really big smile on my face. I had goosebumps throughout the lecture.
The talent so far has been absolutely mind blowly incredible. The sounds I was exposed to, the artists I met and the general vibe this initiative has created was a truck load of ideas and creativity among South Africa’s future musicians…
We left and went to the Kitcheners for the first night of the #RBMA and what a night it was… I still have goosebumps thinking about it
Thank you Red Bull Music Academy for allowing this session to happen and for opening my eyes to artists and sounds I would have never been exposed to!