Album Only
MBR423 | 2021-03-05  
Diamond Dealer has been making waves in the South African house music scene, whether on decks or in the studio, and we've had our eye on him for a while now. For his debut on MoBlack Records, the DJ from Bloemfontein pays tribute to the fateful Johannesburg suburb, with remixes by Durban pride Enoo Napa and Mpumalanga's crowd pleasing wonder, Caiiro. Marking 66 years since the demise of Sophiatown, and 15th year since the restoration of its name, the Kimberley born producer builds upon the lyrics of Strike David Vilakazi's outwardly upbeat, anti-Apartheid protest anthem that helped define the beat of a burgeoning defiance. Sang by none other than the late legend, Dorothy Masuka, excerpted from her cover of 'Meadowlands, originally sung by Nancy Jacobs and Her Sisters from the midst of displacement and steadfast resistance against it, the lyrics at the heart of this Sophiatown Tribute harness pain from a struggle against reality to concoct the remedy for healing through sound..
Sophiatown Tribute is a vibrant melange of unique elements, rife with rich African sounds, tribal groove, and forward-thinking digital nuances. Coddling Dorothy Masuka's verses in moist sonic undulations, the original mix exudes a certain dampness, soaking emotions in harmonic buoyance. Enoo Napa's complex artistic finesse casts an elegant dub remix of the Tribute. Dark afro tech, looming ambience and synth-based melodics drive this sublime tour de force that has us itching for a gleam off a strobe light on a pitch black dancefloor at wee hours of the night. Masuka's vocals, though curtailed, remain prominent and affective, emitting ample sentiment to ravel time and get lost in its rhythm. Caiiro yields his unique, textured dub re-work, juxtaposing cross-grained percussion with electronic tweaks on an acidic incline. Searing hi-hats flow with inquisitive acoustics that waft Dorothy Masuka's protracted vocals in fleeting melodies and a simple rhythm that seems to make everything feel right. Wrapping up the EP, an Instrumental Mix makes sacred space out of the absence of vocals. Dorothy Masuka might no longer be speaking, but we feel her. A radio edit completes the series.

Words by Marie J Floro

"Sophiatown Tribute" Written by S D Vilakazi and Stefan Coetzee. Published by Burlington Music Co., Ltd. and Atal Music Ltd.

Incorporates elements of "Meadowlands" by S D Vilakazi. Published by Burlington Music Co., Ltd. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.

Contains a Sample from "Meadowlands". Performed by Dorothy Masuka. Courtesy of Gallo Record Company.

All instruments by Diamond Dealer. Recorded at DD Studio, France. Produced by Diamond Dealer.

Original Mix, Instrumental and Radio Edit mixed by Hannes Bieger, Berlin. Mastered by Brian Sanhaji at Calyx Mastering, Berlin.

Enoo Napa Dub mastered by Leo Guardo Caiiro
Dub Mix mastered by Daniele Mattiuzzi Artwork by Rachael D'Alessandro

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