By Brian K.S. from http://365aay.com
One of the most consistent ways of discovering new artists for me has been through the opening acts of other bands’ live shows. This was the case last week as Spoek Mathambo put on an electric performance opening for Saul Williams’ in Toronto. Spoek Mathambo is a South-African rapper, singer, DJ, producer, graphic designer, and pretty much all around creative guy. Influenced by everyone from M.I.A. to Joy Division, his music is very much out of left field, while still maintaining enough pop aesthetics to make it danceable and accessible. Father Creeper is the second album, and most recent effort from Mathambo, that does a good job of mixing fun and entertaining music with abstract sounds that also push the listener. Most top-of-mind comparison I could give this artist is Theophilus London, whose debut I touched on last year. Main difference here is that whereas Theophilus drew from ‘80s pop music, Spoek’s style is a lot more shaped by UK garage and dubstep. The song “Put Some Red on It,” which is also the album’s first single, is a solid example of this UK-influenced sound. The track is founded on a bass-heavy 2-step groove where Mathambo carries what is a pretty catchy chorus, mixed in with some pretty visual references about blasting 2Pac, snorting gun-powder, and the depletion of oil and minerals from Africa. Admittedly, there are a lot of Johannesburg references and slang on this album that go right over my head, but Spoek Mathambo has a good enough mic cadence and a very eclectic sound that make this album really enjoyable.
Another standout track on here is the song “Skorokoro.” This track which features another rapper by the name of Okmalumkoolkat, is definitely something you would more likely expect to hear out of a South-African hip hop song. Both the beat and the hook are infectious as the two MCs trade boastful verses about style and women. The end result is something I would definitely throw on a lazy Sunday afternoon playlist.
The last third of this album is where Spoek Mathambo really steps away from the electronic sounds and drifts in between genres with some more bluesy tunes towards the end. Both “Stuck Together” and the final track “Grave” feature some prominent blues guitar and showcase Spoek Mathambo’s singing vocals. Overall, for the amount of variety you get on Father Creeper the album stays really fresh from start to finish and is a pretty modest 11 tracks. If you appreciate alternative artists who tend to collage a bunch of different popular sounds together rather than sticking to one genre then Spoek Mathambo is right up your alley and this album is a good introduction.
01. Kites 05:04
02. Venison fingers 02:40
03. Put some red on it 05:38
04. Let them talk ft. yolanda 05:00
05. Dog to bone 04:49
06. Skorokoro (walking away) ft. okmalumkoolkat 04:49
07. Father creeper ft. xander ferreira 04:56
08. We can work ft. rebone 03:34
09. Stuck together 04:56
10. Grave (intro) 03:00
11. Grave 06:24