Boomkat Product Review:
London house lynchpin, DJ IC of the Circle crew, measures out a weighty debut album of UK takes on amapiano, including a bonus track with Mellowbone SA.
Since the end of the 2010s, the hypnotic mid-tempo bop of South African amapiano has held strong sway over UK club music producers and dancers. DJ Supa’s Housupa label, along with the likes of DJ Polo & Razzler Man’s Renk Groove, have led the way for new Black British slants on ama’s prevailing motifs, giving a more spaced out, rolling slant on its signature log drum patterns and oozing subs that have packed out dances in London and across the country. ‘Aquarius’ is arguably this hybrid scene’s most substantial body of work, with a dozen solo aces plus a collaboration with Mellowbone & Blaq Reverse that defines the cross-continental, diasporic sound from a UK perspective.
Basically an up-to-the-minute iteration of deep house, trimmed of the classic sound’s fancier frills, DJ IC’s productions can be heard to resemble bleep techno’s soundsystem mutations of Chicago & Detroit, as much as UKG’s morphed-in-translation take on US garage, or the way OG South African township funk mirrored disco and the ‘780s house phenomenon. DJ IC ties up his bonds in sleekly minimal designs on ‘Aquarius’, launching with the unresolved trancey tension of its title tune and toggling he atmospheric pressure between the balmy’ Bounce’ to the darker, intensified tang of ‘Lekker’, the ruggedly toned bass of ‘The Drop’ and ‘Wooly’, and a big highlight on ‘Whistle Theme’.