Boomkat Product Review:
Prolific Phelimuncasi collaborator DJ Skothan has worked with many of gqom's most important players, and makes a case for his itchy, experimental style on this explosive debut album. Kinetic, fwd-thinking dance music from Durban!
Skothan's gqom and house productions have been instrumental in driving Durban's local musical ecosystem, and the producer has worked with plenty of important figures, including Bhejani, Tweeyking, Lafaristo, MaRiiO and DJ MP3. On "Nevegation" he strikes out alone with a platinum-coated suite of taught instrumentals crafted for peak-time dancefloor ruination. It hits its stride with the self-explanatory 'Salut To DJ Lag', a dedication to the gqom scene's underground hero that tears up the rulebook, running thru the template and adding penetrating rolled percussion that flips every few bars. The track is the perfect meeting point between South African party traditions and sand-blasted club experimentation, and sits in a nether-dimension between the earth and the stars.
Even Skothan's more restrained productions are hard as nails: tracks like 'Section A' and 'The Gringo' don't deviate much from the expected template, but absorb tiny, subtle production elements that prolong their momentum. The former sounds as if it's been produced with an ear to contemporary Bristol with microscopic chopped breaks augmenting the usual rhythm, while the latter matches pick 'n shovel kicks and snares with animal sounds and a disembodied robot vocal that sets it just outside of our reality.
"Nevegation" peaks with the brilliantly jagged 'The King of Gqom' that skirts the usual formula, adding frequency squashed hardstyle tricks, psychedelic rolls and widescreen strings to create a track of pure anticipation that never descends into the expected formula. Brilliant material, from beginning to end.