Spoek Mathambo’s Future Sound Of Mzansi Mix Series: Fever Trails

Spoek Mathambo's 'Future Sound of Mzansi' mix series returns with 39 minutes from Cape Town dreamy beatmaker Fever Trails.

Photo: Kent Andreasen

It's been three weeks since we've seen a new mixtape from Spoek Mathambo, which by Spoek's superhuman standards is something of a hiatus. The chief ambassador of the Mzansi renaissance, Spoek's been keeping busy all season with two projects that we're especially excited about. Firstly there's his South African "superband" Fantasma, which wrapped up their first major homecoming performance at Oppikoppi last weekend and prior to that played a string of festivals in the UK. With their debut EP set to arrive 20th October via Soundway Records, the group has been recording beachside at their very own Fantasmaland headquarters in the Eastern Cape. Hand-in-hand with Fantasma is Spoek and filmmaker Lebogang Rasethaba's new documentary Future Sound of Mzansi, a project that looks at South Africa’s “cultural landscape” through the lens of its electronic music scene and features a roll call of so many of our favorite South African artists. In the lead-up to the film's world premier last month at the Durban International Film Festival, Spoek promised to roll out a series of mixtapes dedicated to artists and genres featured in the doc. So far he's come through with tapes of/from DJ Spoko, Okmalumkoolkat, KZN’s mysterious Qgom sub-genre, Aero Manyelo, and Maramza.

Today Spoek turns things over to Fever Trails, aka the solo production moniker of Bateleur's Nicolaas van Reenen and occasionally his live collaborators Sebastiano Zanasi from Christian Tiger School, Dylan Jefferys (Bateleur) and Skye MacInnes (Like Knives). We were first introduced to van Reenan's spacey sub-bass beatwork in April through his drippy self-titled debut single (via Bad Life). The shortest but sweetest collection of dreamy astronomical Mzansi beats to date, the 39-minute tape spans nine tracks of young and unreleased Fever Trails originals. Listen on below and download the tape here.

Spoek Mathambo’s Future Sound Of Mzansi Mix Series: Fever Trails Tracklist

1. Bells - FT

2. Dream, Rabbit - FT

3. Goldshine (FT Remix) - Card on Spokes

4. Skrum - FT

5.Untitled - FT

6. Pattern Language - FT

7. On & On (FT Remix) - Astro Zu

8. Fever Trails - FT

9. I Can't Figure You Out (FT remix) - Hugh

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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