Speed is ofcourse a virtue in and of itself.
This will be as Hipster as it gets, complete with obscure French indie cinema references, backpacking and of course a small genuine music movement turned fashionable for a short while. See, back in 2013 I made my own Gadjo Dilo trip (yeah, that’s the cinema reference). Much like the protagonist of the film, Stephane, I had gotten obsessed by some music from a far away place and felt the need to be where that music was happening. That place happened to be Johannesburg for me rather than Stephane’s Rumania.
Now, living out my primary school years during the 80’s in Sweden meant having at least annual theme days or even weeks devoted to teaching us kids the horrors of the then very much at full force ongoing apartheid regime. For me, and I bet many of my peers, having been fostered into this strong sense of solidarity with the distant struggle of the ANC meant that seeing Mandela eventually walk free was at least as huge a moment as witnessing the Berlin wall fall. Johannesburg and Soweto felt almost mythical for me and yet somehow weirdly familiar. When in 2010 I stumbled upon Shangaan Dance Music, a Lo-Fi electronic hyper intense style straight out of the streets of Joburg it was love at first sighhhh… ehhh I guess hear? There were some youtube clips circling around and then Honest Jon’s released a collection album from which my pic Nwampfundla by Tshetsha Boys is taken.
There wasn’t much I could do about it, oh I tried to resist; Joburg being notoriously unsafe, but a couple of summers later the urge got too great and I finally packed my backpack and found myself early July on a plane to Johannesburg with a return ticket flying out from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, booked for early August. The thinking was that thrilling music needs an accompanying thrilling trip and also public transport is an awesome way to meet people in order to get more close to the music I was looking for, all very much Gadjo Dilo.
I never found any proper Shangaan. Turns out that the hype for Shangaan Electro was mostly a thing in Europe and the US. In southern and eastern Africa music was playing everywhere but it sure wasn’t Shangaan or anything closely related. Mostly there were DVDs with music videos made by local gospel choirs. Almost as ubiquitous was the R n’ B/Reggaeton mash-up mostly produced in west Africa which I found considerably less appealing. These music DVD’s would be blasting on any public transport, shop or place where you could eat or drink, be it a restaurant, pub or just a cart on the side of the road. So in many ways it turned out to be a musical journey albeit a very different one from what I had been looking for.
So what about Tshetsha Boys and Shangaan then you might ask. Well you could just listen for yourself but in case you’d rather read about it; it’s hyper fast with all the action taking place in the midrange to high pitch registers. Often the vocals contributes the lowest notes in a tune …so it sure doesn’t sound like club material. However it is so infectious that it is impossible to sit still, one just have to spastically shake as many limbs and body parts as one has available. Oh and it’s manically cheerful!
This challenge shouldn’t be very difficult, but what happened? Yes, I found to many tunes and had a really hard time choosing. For someone like me that still loves skate punk, naturally I had a couple of skate punk songs in mind right away. It wasn’t easy choosing one of them so I kept on digging.
In these Olympic times it felt obvious to pick something originating from our western neighbour, Norway. When they get sad over all the cross-country ski results going Sweden’s way, they can always comfort themselves by having at least good musicians, sometimes great (but don’t tell them that).
The pick is a piece from truly great musicians, two of them, almost virtuosos, I would say.
I first heard the band only last year when they released their third album. The album even made it to my honourable mentions in our Yule calendar. The song I’ve chosen is from their first album, and it is the title track; Mao Miro by Aiming for Enrike.
I guess Aiming for Enrike’s music is defined as some sort of progressive rock or experimental metal or something of that nature. For me, it’s punk-jazz. When you have music that refuses to conform and the very next note is unpredictable, then I think of two genres; the non-conforming punk and the unpredictable free jazz; hence Punk-Jazz®.
Even though it might sound like there is more of them, they are only two. I’m not a pedal freak, but I really like the innovating use of the pedals and the looping of guitar figures. There is something really unique about their sound and style of playing. You can watch a live-session of their latest album, Las Napalmas, to see how they pull it off. At 6:30 when Simen Følstad Nilsen starts slamming the pedals with his fists, is a must watch. That tune, Marion Jones, is by the way my top pick from that album.
Mao Miro, the tune, might not be the bands fastest but it is the craziest tuneful, really fast piece I think they’ve recorded. At first it sounds like he is hitting the strings on the guitar all wrong, but you soon get into the vibe and get carried away by this masterful tune. It’s a tune that makes you happy, and is by no means brutal. A word of warning, you might wanna enjoy Aiming for Enrike in small doses, you might get to speeded for your own good. Please please don’t tell the Norwegian ski team about Aiming for Enrike, but if you know someone in the Swedish team, go ahead and tell them all about it – it ought to be really good pep music before a race, at least for someone like me.
Now let’s enjoy some classy Swedish skiing and some freaky Norwegian jazz-punk.
…and for our next task, we will find a tune that…
Coming of our punk roots, both of us have a penchant for short, chanted, in-your-face-lyrics, all the more so if they have some sort of significance or at least obnoxiously pokes you in the eye. Roo might end up with the same problem picking from a multitude of choices this time again.
See you in 14 days!