Boomkat Product Review:
Highest grade club moves from SA’s Mbulelo, chasing a sorely slept-on 12” for Transmat with four unmissable, deep house and gqom-adjacent bullets for Hakuna Kulala,
First spotted by keener heads on a stunning 12”, ‘Robotic People’ for Detroit’s legendary Transmat in 2018, Mbulelo has been cutting rug since at least 2013 under the Xerophytic Soul alias, responsible for some of the decade’s best broken beat/gqom/deep techno mutants you’ve never heard. In 2022 Mbulelo puts his bad foot fwd again for NNT’s Hakuna Kulala sibling, working up a slick sweat with masterful body control in each part thru swingeing, propulsive, encrypted African rhythms galvanised by cutting edge electronics.
A wee story for ya: this writer was spinning an Mbulelo track at 7am at Nyege Nyege Festival, 2018 when the Nile rain gods arrived after 3 days without. Hakuna Kulala however took a track ID and reached out to Mbulelo, hence this release. And it’s a fucking pearler! ‘Play The Beat’ set the tone with a killer cowbell and neuro synth-driven zinger gwan like Leonce’s brother from a different mother, before ‘Kalibre’ comes thrillingly harder with militant, gqom-like log drums and biting-point synths that slay the floor. The Detroit-toned pads and slinkier gait of ‘Uranus’ are perhaps closest to the deep technoid sensuality and proggier house traction of his Transmat 12” - a super classy antidote to gqom’s brutalism - and ultimately leads to the suspenseful depths of ‘God’s Groove’, with trancey pads and weightless rhythm precipitating a masterfully refined permutation of South African deep tech futurism.