Boomkat Product Review:
Hakuna Kulala turn out the darkest Gqom on road with the ridiculously strong debut solo release by Infamous Boiz’ Menzi brimming with cyperpunk-cinematic sound design via hard-synched taxi techno drums. Massive RIYL DJ Lag, Nazar, Slikback!
Getting deeper than anyone into the mechanics and mindset of South Africa’s viral township techno sound, 27 year old Menzi Shabane makes seismic moves on the ‘Impazamo’ EP with six trax of gobsmacking Gqom pressure advanced by shocking levels of sound design detail and searing synth dynamics.
Menzi hails from the Umlazi township of Durban, where he rose to prominence as one half of Gqom pioneers, Infamous Boiz, whose influence is now felt shuddering from speakers in clubs across the world. Aside from producing, Menzi also runs the annual Gqom Bloq party, Festive Road Block Umlazi, and recently has supplied beats for some of South Africa’s biggest acts (Moonchild Sanelly, Mahotella Queens, Zolani Mahola and Zakes Bantwini), but it’s this EP for one of the hottest labels on the planet that will surely put his name on the global dancefloor map.
Daring to mess with the machinery of Gqom’s sharply defined style, Menzi opens it up like Hellraiser’s puzzlebox to truly invoke and unleash the sound’s darkside spirits. The title tune’s cinematic intro ratchets new levels of industrial drama to the sound that follow thru in the pained hollers and BM-style screeches of ‘Minimal Surge’ and the sheets of acid rain drone that soak ‘Underground Abaphansi’, while the percussive ballistics of ‘QGM’ and the jaw-dropping ‘Zulu Warrior’ recall the deep fwd sound design of Nazar’s experimental kuduro style, and Uganda’s Ecko Bazz plays the role of shaman or spirit guide in the pitch black midnight tone of ‘GQOM Tera’.
A staggering set packing the strongest Gqom tracks on road right now, ‘Impazamo’ is unmissable for lovers of dark, heavy and futuristic dance music from all corners of the club.