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Johannesburg bastion of everything groovy, the mighty Afrosynth Records follow up their MASSIVE reissue of "Burnin' Beat" with a new 12" boasting two bass-heavy cuts of obscure '90s kwaito from the depths of DJ Okapi's vaults.
Founded in the early 80s by Richard Makhubele, Volcano’s signature brand of Shangaan disco made them one of the most popular bands of the ‘bubblegum’ era, releasing a string of big-selling albums with the Gallo label. But by 1993 things in South Africa were changing fast, both politically and musically. Volcano had left Gallo to join Eric Frisch Productions (EFP) in search of greater independence. On their 1993 album "Tshigubu Tshanga" they began to experiment with the new house-inspired sound of kwaito courtesy of producer Malcolm ‘X’ Makume, with one track in particular standing out: ‘Vanonyana Lava’. A Shangaan tale of thwarted courting in the local bars, this bass-led monster saw Volcano experiment with a tougher, heavier sound while absolutely nailing the uplifting chords of classic US house. Unmistakably South African, irresistibly danceable, "Vanonyana Lava" is the kind of record you can change lives with on a club system.
On the flip-side of this new release is an even more obscure track plucked from DJ Okapi's high grade collection. The Beat Gangsters were a short-lived studio project made up of Willi Mau Mau and Mad T Doctor, in-house producers for Mob Music, an independent label set up by Eric Frisch (after the demise of EFP) that put out a string of influential club releases in the mid-90s, among the last albums to be pressed to vinyl in South Africa. Named after a popular South African brand of gum, ‘Chappies’ was originally released on the 1995 album Mob Table Dance. Powered by percolating drum programming, weighty bass and glistening keys, "Chappies" sounds a little like a South African take on a Peech Boys hit, bringing melancholy and dubspace to the heart of the dance floor.
Patrick says: Afrosynth main man DJ Okapi follows up the phenomenal success of "Burnin Beat" with a second 12", this time dedicated to a duo of Kwaito rarities. "Vanonyana Lava" leads us through euphoric chords and speaker freakin' bass on the A-side, while "Chappies" serves up a South African take on Levan's housier sound on the flip. Top stuff.
A. Volcano - Vanonyana Lava
B. The Beat Gangsters - Chappies (Reluctant Mix)