Boomkat Product Review:
The indispensable Gqom Oh! series introduces TLC Fam to the world beyond Durban, SA and kasimp3.co.za with the first album from the 23-member crew of DJs, MCs, producers, taxi drivers and promoters.
Hailing from the other side of the hill to Dominowe in the township of Newlands West, Durban, TLC Fam are self-proclaimed kings of the Gqom scene, distinguishing their sound from the rest thru patented “taxi kicks” - layered and sub-loaded bass drums - and the distinctive rhythmelodic vocal cut-ups that litter and light-up their tuff af grooves.
We’ve said it before, but Gqom really does sound like party music from a Neil Blomkamp flick; at once menacing and almost cartoonishly caricatured with unrelenting darkside tropes. And like a Blomkamp, the tunes can flicker from wry, shark-eyed grins to evil sci-fi terror and back again in a split second.
Isbethelo seGqom is among the strongest example of this analogy we’ve heard, with the vocal cut-ups lending a frayed, manic quality akin to diegetic sources meshing with a film’s soundtrack and reinforcing the narrative.
Of course, there’s no film here, but we’re totally taken somewhere else with this set, from the transition between dry percussion and the baile funk-esque call & response cadence of Bridge Lase London, to the unusual juxtaposition of lush bird calls and militant drums in Ndanda Yethu (Main Mix) and the Uk hardcore-style breakdowns of Tribute to Nomfundo (Ladlal’iDark), whilst the cinematic metaphor comes thru quite literally in the title of Baleka (Theme), and the finely structured arrangement of Ama_ZULU (Core Tribe)’s move between bustling township sounds specific to TLC Fam’s Zulu culture.
Cracking album. Get out in right away!