Audio

Listen To The Debut Single From Cape Town Producer Fever Trails

Cape Town electronic producer Fever Trails aka Nicolaas Van Reenan makes his self-titled single debut via Bad Life.


Fever Trails (aka the production moniker of Bateleur's Nicolaas Van Reenan) has been a fixture of Cape Town's hazy music landscape for a minute now. Today we received a proper taste of his experiments in sub-bass on a leak of his self-titled debut single. Like a spectrum of ethereal/space sounds on earth, "Fever Trails" opens with a drippy warmup before heading down a similar cave as James Blake on Wilhelm Scream at the one minute mark. On the flipside, "Pattern Language," wanders into a state of rhythmic soundscapes. Listen to the first offering from Fever Trails below and stay tuned for more on Van Reenan coming up. "Fever Trails" is due out May 26th via Bad Life.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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