Hyperdub's OKZharp guides us through the South African file-sharing sensation that is gqom.
OKZharp is a South African-born London-based producer who maintains strong links to his homeland. His forthcoming EP on Hyperdub, 'Dumela113' - which translates as ‘Hello113’ - features the vocals of Manthe Ribane; an artist and member of VINTAGE dance crew who runs the creative Johannesburg studio ‘Studio113’ with her family. The music was recorded during an epic all-nighter session at an ex-marshmallow factory in Maboneng, Johannesburg. Probably why it's so damn delectable.
Maintaining the connection to his roots, OKZharp agreed to tap into one of South Africa's most exciting underground dance music movements right now - the file-sharing sensation that is gqom. Championed by the likes of Rudeboyz and DJ Lag, the scene has flourished via local filesharing sites such as kasimp3.co.za and datafilehost, which brings us to the right here and now.
In OKZharp's own words: "When I first clicked onto kasimp3.co.za it felt like I had plugged into a wild new energy source. Up to that point, I had been given or sent quite a bit of music by artists from different parts of South Africa but like a lot of people, it was a bit frustrating knowing there was stuff happening off the radar with no way of checking it out. Although there's still a lot going on off the radar, kasimp3 and datafilehost are two places you can check other tracks by people you already knew and also browse for new music. When I was asked to put a list of tracks together I thought yeah why not - some of these artists get barely any recognition in their own country, even though their music is amazing. So here's a list of stuff that I have found on kasimp3 recently."
OKZharp: "Lusiman's music is sometimes quite melodic and clean but this one is tripped-out and crushing. An absolute favourite."
OKZharp: "Julz creates such mad intensity with so few sounds, so it's no surprise to me that grime and bass guys respond to his stuff. This is one of his more intricate tracks."
OKZharp: "Citizen Boy is an amazing producer. He is really brave with space, groove and more unpredictable sounds and samples."
OKZharp: "Mutant end-of-the-world brukup hypno-party vibes."
OKZharp: "Rudeboyz do it like noone else. Dark searching synths with hypnotic chants and rude drums... away."
OKZharp: "Boiz vs Boyz, this is a killa combo for me, and Snaxx crops up on lots of gqom tracks as vocalist. Deadly groove breaking into body noises, synth pops and chants."
OKZharp: "I could have done a top ten Lag tracks, but he's taken a lot of his stuff down now, so I went with this collab with Tempo. Memories of Nico Lindsay and Capo Lee riding this one at plus 6, Capo demanding the wheel."
OKZharp: "Once again, Infamous Boiz in collab mode. I could probably do a top 20 Infamous Boiz, as they are so prolific. There's a weird balance between caustic and seductive on this one."
OKZharp: "Almost Basic Channel vibes: spaced-out rhythm but massive sub energy, with shards of vocal dripping through the cracks."
OKZharp: "Amazing balance between strangely introverted yet euphoric music and completely a feral rhythm."
OKZharp: "This one isn't on Kasimp3 but I might as well put it in here 'cos it brings it back to the gqom trip. Shout to the Rudes... Zhambeez anthem in the making."
'Dumela113' is out October 30th on Hyperdub (pre-order).