Towards the latter end of 2014, you may have heard murmurings of a South African supergroup called Fantasma, formed by DJ Spoko and Spoek Mathambo, whose music is described as Guzu, a style based on fusing traditional South African styles with Western forms; where township house rubs shoulders with hip hop, and maskandi rhythms melt into Shangaan electro. Pretty bog standard, right?
Whilst ‘Sefty Belt‘, typifying the infectious Bacardi house style signature to DJ Spoko’s sound, was the standout track on the EP, it is the album’s opening ‘Basbizile’ that keeps us coming back for more. Its simple drum beat reminds of 1980s hip hop, harking up images of a beatboxer on the street corner, accenting his snare as a wiley MC lays rhymes on top. This picture is painted slightly different, however, with tropical and distorted rock guitar lines alongside vocals sung in native tongue which creates colours probably never seen before. Just as Mathombo’s first line speaks of ‘kicking down boarders’, Fantasma’s music transcends conventional genre pigeonholing, offering something utterly unique that is rooted in the marvellous melting pot of South African musical culture.