Release Date: Jul 6, 2018
Record label: Hyperdub
Okzharp and Manthe Ribane's music has previously been more about sensation than expression. Killer tracks like "Dear Ribane" and "Teleported" focussed on rhythm, bassweight and sparse texture, combining sounds from the duo's native South Africa with the burly severity of grime. The London-based Okzharp's arrangements were lean and lethal, and dancer-model-artist Ribane wasn't so much a singer as a presence, her off-the-cuff Auto-Tuned vocals adding to the music's sci-fi flair.
Much of the electronic music that the wider world hears from South Africa is by turns tough (gqom), weird (Die Antwoord) and frenetic (Shangaan electro). Okzharp--aka South African producer Gervase Gordon--is no stranger to all three. As one third of the group LV, he contributed to tunes like ….
It's an indictment of our times that opting to be positive seems like leftfield move. But on their debut full-length album, Okzharp & Manthe Ribane have done just that; Ribane herself has said Closer Apart's aim is to be an "antivirus". It shreds much of the club music styles that dominated their earlier recordings and heads deep inwards - this is a lush set of simpler pop melodies rather than gnarly riddims and rhymes.