Introducing Pretoria’s Ambient And Experimental Electronic Pioneer, Buli

Pretoria-based producer Buli is a frontrunner in South Africa’s race towards a more experimental electronic sound.

Photo by Steve Hogg. Courtesy of Buli.
Towards the end of January on the crowded dance floor of Johannesburg’s second oldest pub-turned-club, Kitcheners, a young producer and DJ by the name of Shibule Ndhambi gets ready to take the decks. The scene is the standard club setup—sweaty bodies clamouring for a spot up front as flashy DJs with Macbooks and polished sets rinse the room out.

Enter Buli, kitted out with nothing but an old Lenovo laptop, a modest windbreaker he later sheds, and a shy, unassuming demeanour he wears throughout. The crowd lulls in and out as he kicks into his first track—a lenient fusion of hard drum arrangements and ambient synthesizers, ethereal and hypnotic enough to sway with, but wild enough on the low end to give your feet something to move to. The bodies don’t really know what they’re listening to, but they move to it nonetheless. By the time he drops “Cloudy,” there’s hardly enough room to bob your head.

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