This week”s track of the week is a previously unheard demo by the BLK JKS. Nare coming in at just under eleven minutes in length represents the longest as well as the most experimental, left of center track we have featured on this column. BLK JKS who seemingly came out of a period of obscurity, dropped this demo along with an interview with Mail and Guardian as a clear signal of intent.
The band was never really in obscurity, as the members took some time to explore alternative projects such as Motel Mari, BLK JKS SNDSYSTM and producing for Moonchild. It seems that with the departure of frontman Linda Buthelezi, the remaining members, with the addition of a brass section are prepared to release and perform some new material.
Nare, produced by drummer Tshepang Ramoba, represents a clear shift in the sound of BLK JKS. A quick google search reveals that the word, according to the urban dictionary, means ‘perfection’ – which is rather paradoxical, as the track is far from perfect in terms of formulaic commercial music. But BLK JKS are renowned for “creating genre-defying music that leaves crowds curious” and formulas just do not allow for that.
In the minimalistic Nare, the brass section takes centre stage as the electrifying guitar and drum rhythms we have come to know BLK JKS by play second fiddle. The influence of their involvement with Motel Mari is also apparent in the groups flirtation with glitchy, multilayered, textural soundscapes.
We really not sure what to make of this track. But we are very curious to hear more from the group, and we hope that they plan to release more material and play more shows sooner rather than later. The musical landscape seems somewhat barren without their effort, as “not a lot of people are willing to put themselves on the line to be the opposite of what is trending”.
Songs about beaches and late nights at the bar leave something to be desired. So the BLK JKS’ constant search for something new and meaningful will always leave us fascinated. They could have just released a duplicate of After Robots, but then they just wouldn’t be the BLK JKS would they? Evolution is a natural human process of progression, which the BLK JKS embraces fully. We as listeners should take a page out of their playbook.