Europeans know very little about the South African dance music world. Apart from a few artists who have crossed over to the international house/techno scene (namely Mujava via his 2008 mega hit Township Funk, hyperactive collaborator and world traveler Spoek Mathambo, and the immense DJ Cleo) the rest is sadly pretty much a blur for most euro ravers, us included.
We at Sound Pellegrino never claimed to be one of those labels who spend a lot of time and energy researching regional scenes from the global house music village and putting the spotlight on them, there are tons of great labels out there who will always do that better than us, but when we stumble upon something as amazing and with such universal and immediate appeal as AERO MANYELO’s work, we have no choice but to put it out.
It’s truly an honor to be able to present the music of South African producer extraordinaire Aero Manyelo to our little scene. The man is already a household name in his country via his affiliations with labels/institutions such as BlackwHole Entertainment and Soul Candi as well as his own Herbal Recordings. His music came to our attention some time ago via the Out Here Records compilation “Ayobaness! the Sound of South African House”. We played his track “Just In Time” in the Sound Pellegrino podcast, and months later, out of the blue, Manyelo himself contacted us via our dropbox, asking us if we would like to hear more of his work. He then proceeded to send us loads of unreleased tracks, each one better than the other. We asked him to remix Maelstrom’s “USSR”, which he did to great acclaim, and we compiled a few of the tracks he sent us into the highly addictive dancefloor-destroying bomb-filled “HOME” EP you are about to hear.
“Can You Handle?” is a vicious melodic number, backed by a strong menacing bass line (one of Manyelo’s trademarks). The track could be described as a more masculine version of Border Community’s early work, highly emotional and based on pure romantic melodic intensity. “Can You Handle?” flirts with hands-in-the-air progressive techno yet never dwells on its obvious cheesy clichés, always falling back on its feet in a subtle manner. We don’t wanna be the press sheet that tells you a track is a huge dancefloor hit but… (smiles)
“Black Blue Green” is just as huge and energetic, but in a more raw and juvenile way. A martial 125 bpm techno beat leads into a soulful vocal soon deconstructed into one of the most extreme, abstract and all-over the place tempo-stretching break in the history of dance music. When the beat comes back it has morphed into even more intense hard-as-hell techno madness. Unpredictable and lethal.
“I Wish I Had A Home” focuses on that trademark Aero Manyelo bass line. A steady groove, acid synths and warm strings add to the “techno classic” smoke-machine vibe of the track. A perfect mental slow-burning banger for late night sets.
“Niniwa” is also pretty mental constructed less of a straightforwardly and linearly, with dramatic synths and spooky vocals jumping in and out of the picture. Out of the 4 tracks of the EP this is the one where the Kwaito influence is the most obvious. Mysteriously sexual, modern, profound and tense.