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16 Jun, 2014

Review: Red Bull Academy Bass Camp Compilation '13 | Axecess

Imagine around fifteen of South Africa's most innovative vocalists, emcees, producers, and deejays all holed up in a secret location somewhere in Johannesburg for an entire week! What type of music would emerge from the studio sessions they would ultimately become a part of? What conversations would be had during those sessions to inspire the music?

Well, it's sort of what happened with Red Bull South Africa's picks from their 2013 Bass Camp– a five-day series of lectures, studio sessions, and club nights hosted somewhere between October's damning end and November's promising beginnings. Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp Johannesburg 2013 is a compilation of songs composed during these sessions by some of the participants.

The six-track firecracker starts off with 'Blue Bird'; a dubby bumper that lurks in the region of 140BPM. Produced by Satori, it sees vocalist Moonchild Sanelly drawing from her disparate mish-mash of thoughts to map out a cranky world where "even birds buy airtime." Production wizard Twelv of Twelv And Thesis adds his touch, and while Kgomotso Mokone of Soweto-based band BCUC is credited, one will be hard-pressed to hear her voice anywhere on here.

Immediately after is Mr. Apple Sawc and Okmalumkoolkat's spicy streetwise number 'Roundhouse Kick.' It's Chuck Norris in fast-forward; it's Van Damme and Bolo Yeung rolled into one. Okmalumkoolkat's one-liners litter the bouncy production as he spits venerable wisdom such as "take a chill pill like calm your tits/ you can follow me, just watch my tweets."

The highlight for the album, though, is reserved for 'Umbrellas On The Beach'; possibly the most awesome accompaniment to cold mojitos to ever hit the sonicsphere. With Fever Trails and Card on Spokes on production, and the chocolate-coated vocals of Nonku Phiri and earth-shattering raps of Bra Sol, this is bound to occupy center stage on all earphones and sound systems globally.

Initiatives like this one from Red Bull have uncovered great talent in South Africa, from Black Coffee to Culoe de Song. It'll be interesting to see who rises from this bunch. Nonku Phiri is already bubbling (besides her work with Crazy White Boy), and past Red Bull Music Academy participant Thibo Tazz is slowly working the angles of the dance music scene.

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