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Weekend mix: Old and new African sounds from Hyperdub's LV

September 21, 2012|By Randall Roberts | Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
  • The new mix of South African sounds, Africa in Your Earbuds, by British production trio LV.
The new mix of South African sounds, Africa in Your Earbuds, by British production… (Okayafrica.com )

On the heels of British producer Kode9's transcendent set at Los Globos on Monday arrives another Hyperdub Records-related burst of pleasure: a new mix of African tracks, most from South Africa, by production team LV.

A vital, rhythm-heavy affair featuring hypnotic percussion, chant, and heavy beat music, the set is one in a series called "Africa in Your Earbuds," which highlights the myriad sounds of the continent. Earlier volumes have featured selectors such as Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus, South African group BLKJKS and Brit electronic-crooner James Blake's drummer Ben Assitor.

On this, Volume 27 of the series, Okayafrica tapped LV, whose new album, "Sebenza," on seminal minimal dubstep label Hyperdub, draws on techno, house, hip-hop and borderless beat music to create dense, propellent dance music.

The trio draws on a few of the guest rappers featured on "Sebenza" on their Africa in Your Earbuds mix, most notably Capetown, South Africa, MC Ruffest, a wheelchair-rolling party-starter. Writes the trio in the mixtape's notes of the bounty at their fingertips: 

"So many options were opened up by such a broad guideline that it was a little daunting. Should we be finding a way to mix our favourite Fela Kuti tunes with Ethiopian funk and Malian kora jams? We ended up deciding that our mix should be focused on the area of the continent that we’ve had the most contact with and have the deepest selection of tunes from: South Africa."

This is not the South Africa of the Mahotella Queens and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, though, but a vast, upbeat, modern selection of rhythmic workouts,  fluidly beat-matched to create epiphany after epiphany.

Toward the end, LV drops in Chicago footwork producers DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn remixing the Tshetsha Boys, the latter of whom was one of the highlights of the genre-defining 2010 collection "Shangaan Electro: New Wave Dance Music From South Africa." The combined reworking isn't so much a culture clash as a culture connection.

And stick around for a remix of Usher's "Climax," a searing, instrumental workout that uses Diplo's bass line as a springboard into borderless, big-beated bliss.

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Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit

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