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Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer/Peverelist Meet Tshetsha Boys review

Compiled by Honest Jon’s co-owner Mark Ainley and Mark Ernestus last year, Shangaan Electro: New Wave Dance Music From South Africa collected several tracks of Shangaan, the electronic version of a traditional South African music with a massive following, despite its localised nature. When it was announced that Honest Jon’s were planning a series of Shangaan remixes, it probably had many wondering how its typical 180bpm speed could possibly be reconciled with the west’s more conservative 100-140bpm range. The results have been impressive, with Ernestus, Anthony Shakir and Oni Ayhun previously supplying reworkings that have used the source material to rebuild the tracks from the ground up, concentrating on tone and colour than more literal reworkings, and it’s telling that the series actively avoids the word “remix”.

This third 12” sees the unlikely pairing of Peverelist with Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer reworking the Tshetsha Boys. Following their album of reworks from German jazz label ECM, Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer are perhaps the ideal choice for a project like this, with a result that is far more danceable than that collaboration. The minimal bassline and hypnotic bounce on their rework of “Nwampfundla” is typical Villalobos, but the appeal lies in the snatches of melody and vocals from the original track which float in and out of audible range. These fragments capture the original’s melodic charm whilst filtering out its gaudier excesses and almost trick you into believing you’re listening at the original speed, such is the disassociative trickery of the production.

Peverelist’s remix is a complete curve ball – clocking in at under 120bpm it’s certainly not his usual fare, its nonchalant handclaps taking its cues from the more shuffling bass infused house that’s been coming out of Bristol recently from the likes of Kowton. His rework of “Uya Kwihi Ka Rose” goes even further into micro elements than Villalobos does, isolating a specific tone and subjecting it to a syncopated stutter that appropriates Shangaan’s body shaking marimba rhythms, and using his particular talent for stripping tracks right back, leaves a loose skeleton of the original. Like Villalobos & Loderbauer, he isolates enough melody to convey the spirit of the original, but shambling within a spectral reverb it takes on an eerie new quality.

Scott Wilson