August 24, 2012
LV - 'Sebenza'
2012's most joyous electro album
8 / 10
Forget everything you think you know about Hyperdub Records – you’ll need to in order to prepare for the second album by London production trio LV. Unless, that is, you’re a switched-on consumer of modern dancefloor sounds and understand this label isn’t all about the itchy nightbus paranoia of Burial (its most high-profile artist) or the intense sociological theory of Kode 9 (who runs it). Not only have they released brilliantly simple-but-clever UK funky stormers by Ill Blu and Funkystepz, in the form of ‘Sebenza’ they’ve delivered the most joyous electronic album of 2012.
Much of the credit for this has to go to the four MCs enlisted by LV to chat their bizarro slang across these 14 tracks. They all hail from South Africa: Ruffest, a duo of Sello Mangwana and Andile ‘Max’ Stemele, are stars of Cape Town’s kwaito scene, while Okmalumkoolkat is a member of Johannesburg group Dirty Paraffin. Then there’s Spoek Mathambo – another Jo’burg citizen – who linked up with LV in 2010 but only features on two of these songs, which are both belters. ‘Limb’’s melancholy keys, flexible percussion and chopped-up vocals give it a delicious old-skool garage feel, while the skittish ‘Work’ extols “elbow grease” and “putting your back in” – ‘sebenza’ is Zulu for ‘work’, y’see.
And ‘Sebenza’ really does work. LV’s music – already an inclusive stew of dubstep, techno and grime – absorbs kwaito’s house/rap stylings without ever seeming tokenistic or pandering. Okmalumkoolkat’s heavily accented, rolled-R drawl ignites everything it touches, as on the garage monster ‘Animal Prints’ or the stripped-back, droning unease of ‘Zulu Compurar’ (“I feel like I’m not working! Refresh!”). You’re forced, finally, to agree with Ruffest’s boast as they flip seamlessly between languages on the aptly titled electro-trampoline ‘Nothing Like Us’, saluting their journey from “Cape Town to London,” as they bounce. There really ain’t anyone bringing the world party quite like LV.
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