Love Is A Beat
The East Rand. Reflect on those words alone. See the setting, the people, and the tonality of what you know. Work your mind. The East Rand. Assemble fragments of images and audio, reels of film, memories perceptible to nothing more than the senses alone. Once assembled, let everything go. Abandon it. This is not Brakpan, this is not Boksburg, and this is not the Benoni you know. The tempo and pace is more exotic, the traffic ways away from what it was, and in the glare of the fluorescent stream, see the skyscrapers and the youth of Braamfontein.
Rooinek is the brainchild of Steve Hogg (Vox Portent) and his ever creative hype man, Thami 2shoez. Produced under the record label, I Suppose Ja (another one of Steve’s children), East Randers harbours the progressive Vox sound that we’ve come to know and love. And along with Thami’s catchy hooks and vocals, East Randers serves as an introduction to Rooinek by incorporating the dominant attributes of the two. The EP explores influences of old school Kwaito mixed together with Modern House and Techno. Steve and Thami like to call it Kwaai Tek.
Kwaai Tek is a translation of the East Rand. A looking glass into its multi-dimensional social climates. The sound is rooted in deep bass wavelengths and slick grooves, but it’s the emphasis on the percussive that establishes every song. Melodies and hooks are thrown into the mix, a reaction to elevate the core beyond its standalone beat. What we have here is the ingredients to a cheeky party.
‘Nights In Braam‘ is a favourite on the EP. The beat in itself is characteristic of Kwaito with snares that build on a restless drive. Thami’s vocals pour forth like an elegy of sorts, staying within the confines of the time, his voice deep and almost unforgiving. The bass line gashes with electronic fervour and judgment seals his words. The sun begins to set on us| the night has just begun. The track is remarkably dark, veering along the lines of a premonition. There’s feeling of evil. A sin to come. In a lyrical sense, it’s an ode to Braamfontein and the transient notions of its youth. Johannesburg is the destination and bondage is its vice.
‘The Night is Blue‘ is a second favourite, primarily because it follows ‘Nights In Braam‘, and to an extent, serves as a comedown following the agitation of the former. As a song, its primary concern is a discourse of contentions in need of peace – a love to be found in the beat versus the exploits of a party gone stale. Deep blue eyes I visualise| My own demise across the skies| The night is blue| The night is blue. It’s the perfect way to end the EP. Introspective hooks are disguised as goodbyes, but don’t let the loss consume you. The conviction is set. As sure as the melodies outline the skylines, so too the night turns to revive itself.