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Culoe De Song – Webaba review

After a brief hiatus on Japan’s Mule Musiq, South African Culoe De Song returns to Dixon’s Innervisions imprint with arguably his strongest work to date. Like his previous outings, this two-tracker offers an atmospheric, soft-focus take on deep house that’s in turns chilling and quietly uplifting.

Lead cut “Webaba” is a perfect example of De Song’s melancholic vision, building slowly and surely around a claustrophobic mix of mournful strings, Horror organs, intricate African percussion and looped Zulu chants. It’s strangely uplifting, despite the slight tearful air, and subtly builds in intensity over its near 10-minute duration. Describing it as cinematic or filmic doesn’t really do justice to its scope and scale; it’s certainly atmospheric, though.

Flipside “Far Away” is, if anything, more intense. Going for the jugular from the off with hurried kicks, snatched hi-hats and rolling organ licks, it quickly whips itself into a hypnotic brew of delay-laden handclaps, other-worldly string loops and apocalyptic chords. It’s not particularly dark – if anything, it’s rather positive in its outlook – but it does utilise the sound of constant rain and distant thunderclaps. Like “Webaba”, though, it’s a delight – even if it does have a slightly chilling air.

Innervisions have been a touch hit-and-miss of late, but this is one of their best – deep house for grown ups that should enthral those who like their house music smothered in smoky atmosphere.

Matt Anniss