Release Date: Sep 18, 2012
Record label: Hyperdub
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
Hyperdub Records has used dubstep pioneer Burial’s sales to bankroll some interesting projects, but none as unlikely or rewarding as Sebenza. London trio LV got the idea for the album two years ago, when a vacation to Johannesburg introduced member Gervase Jordan to local acts Spoek Mathambo, MC duo Ruffest, and Dirty Parrafin frontman Okmalumkoolkat. Over a shaky Internet connection, all six began writing, the South Africans contributing ideas and vocals to the Brits’ multisided 8-bit rhythms.
LVSebenza[Hyperdub; 2012]By Will Ryan; September 25, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGOn their Keysound debut, 2011's Routes, LV hooked up with London street prophet, Josh Idehen, to deliver an atmospherically overcast UK jungle sermon. Routes was a cloudy aliens-hovering-above, unseen-dangers-below type of affair that was as peripherally engrossing as it was lyrically stimulating. It was an album you could throw words at like "progressive" and "cerebral" and they'd probably stick in more than a few places.
The South London trio LV's follow-up to last year's accomplished Routes, and their first full-length on Hyperdub, is a trip in every sense. Sonically, Sebenza is strung somewhere between UK funky and South Africa's kwaito, two invigoratingly elastic dance music worlds that draw on a rich and overlapping heritage. Vocally it features turns from three distinctive South African acts, Johannesburg's rapper/producer Spoek Mathambo and Okmalumkoolkat of music/performance art crew Dirty Paraffin along with Cape Town kwaito duo Ruffest.
LV's stellar 2011 album Routes was a meditation on inner city London life narrated by beat poet Joshua Idehen. It was good enough to forget that the year before the UK group had disappeared to South Africa and returned with one of 2010's most infectious singles, the incomprehensible and delirious "Boomslang" featuring vocalist Okmalumkoolkat. The trio have returned to Hyperdub with Okmalumkoolkat in tow for a full album of South African-inspired music, a record that somehow manages to sustain the effusive charm of "Boomslang"—and its tireless enthusiasm—across the duration of an entire album.Okmalumkoolkat isn't the only voice on Sebenza, but he's the dominant one.
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.
"Sebenza" means "work" in Zulu. As the hook says on LV's tricky, percolating title-track opener, work is a year-round pursuit, with only the holiday season as respite: "Se-sebenza, only rest in December." Over a never-stop kwaito pulse and between rapper Okmalumkoolkat's slippery verses and rolled Rs, the catchy refrain ties the song to South Africa. And yet LV, who have also worked with Toronto's Zaki Ibrahim, are a trio of Londoners.
Will ensure that the word-of-mouth buzz surrounding this trio continues to grow. Ian Roullier 2012 Sebenza is LV’s swift follow-up to 2011’s Routes, a collaboration with spoken word artist Joshua Idehen, and marks the media-shy London-based trio’s first album release on the influential Hyperdub label. Together since 2000 but only signed in 2007 when they were spotted by Hyperdub, Will Horrocks, Gervase Gordon and Si Williams have now teamed up with three South African MCs who feature across each of the album’s 14 tracks.
When South African MC Okmalumkoolkat makes a hook out of the phrase “Gotta check out my blog, I got so much shit to show you,” it’s hard to tell if he’s making fun of internet-obsessed social media addicts or if he’s shamelessly self-promoting the flashy blogs he maintains and contributes to. The man’s scatterbrained online presence and choppy, playful flow pack enough personality to earn him what is arguably the starring role on the sophomore full-length from South London production trio LV, Sebenza. Eight of the album’s 14 tracks feature Zwane’s breathless and lively rhymes, which find the rapper mostly chattering about fashion labels, girls and the internet with a nimble charm and an ear for how to nestle his rapid-fire words and decorative monosyllables among LV’s punchy beats.