Boomkat Product Review:
Nan Kolè and Citizen Boy’s GQOM OH! label check the roots, present and future of Durban, SA’s virulent, influential dance sound thru a class set featuring rare work by scene founder Griffit Solo, along with aces by his antecedents; DJ Lag, Naked Boys, Rude Boyz, and more.
The killer set hinges around Griffit Solo’s foundational Ree’s Vibe, an upfront killer whose exclusively percussive cadence almost reminds us more of Príncipe batteries, but also clearly contains the seeds of style which have become GQOM as we know it. Ree’s Vibe has understandably become a staple in the acclaimed sets of DJ Lag, who coincidentally hails from he same part of Durban as Griffit, and clearly takes a lot of inspiration from his sound. For comparison, just check Lag’s two contributions, Daisies and Momish to hear how he’s effectively alloyed Griffit’s rhythms with with droning strings and synths that have become one of Gqom’s defining features.
The rest of the set effectively explores the branches of those styles to varying degrees, ranging from the icy prods and mean vocal of Iphoyisa by Sbucardo da DJ - one of the Durban’s most respected - and his MC, Anomaly, thru to Naked Boys’ Sgubhu style on Storyteller or the crisply stripped Divorce, which reminds us of a rugged take on Afefe Iku’s yoruban house ace Mirror Dance, while Rude Boyz can be trusted to serve the darkest flex with the unyielding command of Umshunto.
With Wiley now claiming DJ Lag as his favourite DJ, we can hardly think of a better time to get properly acquainted with GQOM’s roots and future.