March 31, 2010

I Love Soweto Campagin

So the young creative circle that comes around once a month, has joined hands and come up with the "I Love Soweto' campaign. Built on the same principles as the "You make Joburg Great" campaign but with less to no budget, this campaign is made to inspire the people of Soweto to take shape of this wonderful hood_burb of ours. The Rich history of this neighborhood is built in the trenches and is seen through the sweat and tears of it's inhabitants who differ in many ways. Not in many places around the world are you bound to see a cow's head (Iskopo) being sold next to a mall that has multinational food outlets like KFC.

This is just a small snippet of the campaign that has linked up a writer, photographer, models, fashion label, stylist and a DJ. These photo's were shot around Soweto on the weekend of the 27th of March and will be officially be launched at TSJS on the 4th of April 2010.

More Pictures and the whole story line will be made available via our flickr page soon.
Shot by Uviwe Mangweni, Styled by Nombulelo Dhlomo and Mangaliso Mbitsana and Modeled by Buli & Mangstar...

04 April 2010

This being the 17th installment of TSJS, we are proud to share with you the campaign that we doing for the year. "I Love Soweto" because it's filled with vibrant character's (that's my reason). This campaign is set to see more apparel coming out the store, more collaborations with artists including some poster art to be sold at the store. So what better place to launch it than at TSJS...

The Line up is crazy with two bands and a international MC gracing our MIC's... Big Daddy Mdoo makes a come back after his short yet dope set at the last session. Khumza and Wireless_G officially back on the decks.

Live Acts
Planet Lindela (Soul and eclectic sounds)
P2dahi (Hip Hop Mc from the US)
Motlatsi (Eclectic sounds with live band)

DJ line up:
Big Daddy Mdoo

Cover charge:
R20| without thesis gear
R15| with thesis gear

Time: 12h00 till late
Venue: Thesis Concept Store

PS: Food and drinks are sold inside and should you wish to bring your own, and extra fee will be charged at the door.

More information
011 982 1182

Flier designed by Linda "El Toro" Nkosi

March 10, 2010


In the late 90s a movement began in West London that was to inspire a new direction in dance music.

Though this movement was never acknowledged in the mainstream music press, never had a crossover chart single, and never truly transcended its community roots, there was a unique alchemy at work – a fertile moment in UK music where a group of friends began to experiment with new cadences, rhythms and distilled influences, meticulously crafting a new genre.

Though “Broken Beat” was never a tagline that the producers anticipated, and one that they often publicly resisted, those two words would come to represent the scattered rhythms, rolling bass-lines and soaring changes that were inherent to this new music. Prior to the mid-2000s, only one tiny divider in Soho’s Sounds of The Universe store, marked “West London”, and one primitive website, that of Goya Music Distribution, were the sum total retail outlets of this sound. The music was heard only at a club night called Co-Op, originally based at the Velvet Rooms, and in later years, at Plastic People, and like many cultures rooted in the Jamaican soundsystem tradition, what was heard there differed enormously from what was released – dub-plates, alternative versions, beat experiments, all united in their emphasis on heavy bass, staccato drum machine rhythms and soulful feelings. Walking into Co-Op for the first time felt like experiencing a glimpse of the future – hand-held laser pens swooped over a frenetic dance-floor, illuminating clouds of collie smoke like sniper sights scouting a post-apocalyptic battlefield, whilst a toy dub siren rang out from the booth, and IG Culture’s deep Jamaican accent punctuated the pounding rhythms – “it’s a Co-Op thing, it’s Co-Operation – if you ain’t here to dance you can go home now.”

Many of the producers who created Broken were dance music veterans, who worked hard to keep the focus on the Co-Op club, keep the music played there ever-evolving, and collectively resist any temptation to fall into a comfortable template. In this sense there was a manifesto about Broken Beat which was specifically informed by past experiences. A sizeable number came from an ex-Reinforced records background – the legendarily aloof jungle and d’n’b label run by 4Hero’s Dego and Marc Mac (pictured above) – such as Seiji, Marc “G” Force, Domu and Colin Lindo. Others came from a house music background, like Phil Asher of Restless Soul, Orin ‘Afronaught’ Walters or Darren ‘Daz I Kue’ Benjamin. One central element of the sound was Kaidi Tatham’s keyboard playing, a virtuoso jazz-funk musician who had been part of The Herbaliser in the mid-90s.

UK soul was represented in the contributions of Demus from the Young Disciples and IG Culture, whose career arc had taken in early UK hip-hop and projects for the likes of Island records. Mark De Clive Lowe, Alex Phountzi and Dave ‘Zed Bias’ Jones also played major roles and the best known outfit was doubtlessly Bugz In The Attic, a cooperative production “super group”, whose signing to V2 was about as close as Broken Beat ever came to cracking the mainstream. Beyond this the network extended worldwide, resonating in releases on a fledgling Rush Hour distribution in Amsterdam, the work of Italy’s Volcov, Germany’s Jazzanova, and Inverse Cinematics (now known as Motor City Drum Ensemble), Japan’s Jazzy Sport records and more.

Broken Beat was as diverse as its parentage would suggest – the arrangements, beats and tempos could vary drastically between releases. With this in mind it’s hardly surprising that many people couldn’t work out what Broken Beat actually was – or is – until the mid 2000s when a characteristic groove eventually emerged. The mindset and the culture was eclectic from the outset, it was vibrant, afro-futuristic dance music for 21st century b-boys and girls. Its roots were in the scientific soul of the Mizell brothers, the afro beat rhythms of Tony Allen and Fela Kuti, the electro funk and boogie of the mid 80s, the spiritual jazz of Sun Ra and Norman Connors, the soulful techno of Juan Atkins and Derrick May. But the execution and production was grounded in MPCs, SP1200s, the hand-me-down samplers of the hip hop and jungle golden eras, which gave the drums a raw, choppy rhythmic feel – hence the “Broken” tag. Though Goya Music Distribution sadly shut down in 2007, taking down many of the better labels with it, it certainly feels like some of this tradition – in particular the stripped down and syncopated drum sounds, and eclectic approach to fusing genres – continues to live on today in the sound of UK funky.

Be sure to download our recent FACT mix from broken beat hero Seiji. The majority of the tunes in this list aren’t available to listen to on the internet, but this mix by Onda Sonora includes several of them, and gives a good flavour of how the genre was back in the day.


(REINFORCED 12″, 1996)

4hero aka Dego and Marc Mac have laid the foundations of so many important genres that it almost boggles the mind. Nu-Era was a 4hero alias, later known as Marc Mac’s solo pseudonym, most associated with the beautiful and rare broken techno LP Beyond Gravity. On the flipside of this Cold Mission 12”, released at the height of dnb’s popularity, Nu-Era take an odd left turn and slow down the driving groove, syncopating and stuttering the rhythm back to front, early and late. It may seem trivial in 2010 but this is how new directions are formed – many subsequent releases on Reinforced by the likes of Nubian Mindz and Seiji and G Force also dabbled in these same waters, setting the stage for the aesthetic of broken – an experimental, slower, more dancefloor-orientated cousin of jungle. It’s fair to say this remix was at least 10 years ahead of its time, a prototype for what was to come.


(PEOPLE 12″, 1998)

When this dropped in September 1998 it’s doubtful that many stood up and took notice. ‘Spiritual Vibes’ is a humble slice of what the B-side describes as ‘Afro Boogie House’, presumably because no better descriptive genre terms have been coined at this point in time. Misa Negra were Daz-I-Kue on production, and Kaidi Tatham on the keys, whilst a remix dub by Orin “Afronaught” Walters fills up the A-side. Whilst by no means as sophisticated as their later work as a group, Spiritual Vibes sets the tone for their Bugz In The Attic collaborations to come. There’s an inherent musicality about this 12”, and a quirkiness in the rhythms – the Afronaught dub starts half time and doubles over on itself. Bell trees, shells and shakers abound, reminiscent of spiritual jazz classics like Norman Connors’ Dark Of Light, whilst Kaidi’s voice echoes over the beats, whispering “Spiritual.. Vibes..” It’s an off-the-wall blend but it works – deeply reflective, brooding, partly melancholic, but heavy as lead and custom built for a system. The eccentric, almost childlike approach with which influences are mixed and blended here, is the very embodiment of what broken stood for in its infancy.



Neon Phusion are Alex Phountzi, Kaidi Tatham and Orin Walters. ‘The Future..’ is an early broken album with a live mood, doubtlessly the result of many blazed jam sessions. It’s a great example of the melting pot of the time, the optimism of the music, the fall out of drum and bass. You can liken the vibe to jungle at the end of its jazzy period – the feel is blissed out, heavily influenced by the space funk of the 70s but still rooted in driving percussion. ‘Timecode’ is an early take of Orin’s ‘Transcend Me’ with a Headhunters theme to it, whilst ‘Kulu Macu’ has an Afro-Brazilian touch, and raw beats come in the form of ‘Hot Ice’. Annoyingly, the dopest track – the title track ‘The Future Ain’t The Same (As It Used 2 Be)’ – is only ever found on the CD version, along with some other killer bonus material. In that form it’s a particularly quality listen a decade later


This is an excellent compilation of tracks from the scene at the time, with an number of exclusive beats on it. What’s striking about this is how diverse it is – from soft Brazilian lullabies, fusion licks, to harder broken, house and techno, as though no manifesto has been yet been formed. Here some of the finest of the era are nicely collected, including the likes of Seiji and G Force’s ‘Chase The Ace’, Phil Asher’s ‘Phoojun’ and Neon Phusion’s ‘Timeless Motion’, one of the absolute best tracks of the genre ever, worth also tracking down on a separate Laws Of Motion 12″. Raw drum breaks, swirling synths and a quality which some would now call “wonky” abounds. There is also the sound of imagination and cooperation defying the limitations of bedroom studios.


(GROOVE ATTACK 12″, 2000)

“I want to know, what you taste like / Taste like in the dark” croons Vikter Duplaix over this classic disjointed rhythm. Though Vikter is a soul singer from Philadelphia, his work was first embraced and played to death by the West London movement, including Critical Point’s ‘Messages’ on MAW records, ‘Sensuality’, and ‘Looking For Love’ (which had a Bugz In The Attic remix on the 12”, and became a latter day Co-Op anthem). The critic’s choice is still ‘Manhood’ though, the first single after ‘Messages’, which innovates from the first bar to the last, and still gets revival plays today, an edgy slice of hi-tech soul production with the innate catchiness that exemplified the scene at the time. The transposed Detroit chord that cycles through the changes, and the stop and start rhythm were oft-emulated but never surpassed, and the vocal, at once kinky, sexual and even a touch romantic, always got the bodies going on the floor. It’s also worth checking out the RIMA version on the follow up remix 12”, much overlooked due to the intense popularity of the original, but still compelling and fresh today…


(MAINSQUEEZE 12″, 2001)

The Son Of Scientist is IG Culture, whose formidable and charismatic persona reigned over the proceedings at Co-Op. IG’s chops as a producer are rooted in years of experience behind the boards, which he puts to great effect on this excellent 12″. ‘Theory Of Everything’ is as the title suggests, a holistic approach to beatmaking – all sorts of perverted clicks and distortions rise over the beats on this record, along with the rich Prophet strings of 80s electro, as though thrown together, but then sculpted into place. There isn’t a satisfying way to describe what this fusion is, it has to be experienced, and sounds even madder now than then – but it still manages to remain funky despite its harshness. Flipside ‘Ion Stee’l is also ace, with a filthly garage bassline and an awkward time signature. You can feel IG’s sense of humour in this mess, as well as his love for crafting immaculate soundsystem bangers.


07: KUDU
(BITASWEET 10″, 2001)

Quitely revived by Kode 9 on a mixtape I heard somewhere last year, ‘Space’ by Kudu is nothing if not a disturbing listen. The ascending synth lines creep up the spine, and many of them have a vocal quality to them, as though the circuits are trying to communicate. This was the work of Mark De Clive Lowe, Domu and Seiji in collaboration, and is a good example of the freaky psychedelic quality that many bruk tunes have. The drums skip and stutter satisfyingly, but the funk is somehow retained, despite the artificial sound textures and machines at work.


08: DOMU
(2000 BLACK 12″, 2001)

“I was 23 when it came out” Domu says of ‘Save It’, “And I remember feeling on top of the world every time it was played”. ‘Save It’ was not Dom’s first release, but it was certainly the tune that catapulted him into successful years of international touring, remixing and producing at the height of his career. “There’s always something you’re giving away,” sings Face, “So save it!” – leading us to assume the lyrics are about the popular attitude in the scene of being aloof and shutting your gob, rather like the message of Seiji’s ‘Loose Lips’. This is Domu at his most accessible – smooth Rhodes changes and a hooky ARP Odyssey bassline make this track an instant earworm inducer. One thing that is innovative about the record is the “early” clap, which gives the groove an awkward anticipatory feel, a pattern that was much imitated but rarely matched in broken’s later years.

(APOLLO 12″, 2001)

If there is one broken beat anthem everyone can agree on, it’s ‘Transcend Me’ by Orin Walters. It’s a simple but effective blend – the Harvey Mason drum break from Weather Report’s classic Sweetnighter LP is sliced and diced into a million bits on an MPC3000 and re-sequenced to give the sensation that the drums are grooving in suspended animation, filled with infinite rhythmic variation. In the background, a filtered Kaidi Tatham rhodes part swells and burbles, meowing like a hungry cat that hasn’t been fed for days, until finally the song reaches a crescendo and Melissa Browne’s dreamy vocals glue the disparate elements together. At 7 minutes 55 seconds, ‘Transcend Me’ shows that Co-Op was not about the three-minute pop song – only there could something as astral, otherworldly, disorientating and spiritual as this become a seminal party tune.


(MAINSQUEEZE 12″, 2001)

“We live in the funk / trash the junk / now what have we done”. It’s a simple hook line, but it was so effective in the way it works with the drum pattern. Like “Save It”, “Trash The Junk” is all about the anticipation in the groove, the snare seemingly skipping ahead of itself in a delightful way, whilst the melody, changes and vocal sporadically interrupt the drums at the start of the bar. “Trash” is odd, whimsical and experimental, it’s hypnotic in the way in which it loops and builds, until eventually Kaidi’s jazz changes emerge to lift our spirits, and the track erupts with analog synth colours. Another masterful Dego production, it’s well worth flipping this over to indulge in the more minimal and hard edged 808 dub on the flip, which still hits hard and fresh enough to contend with any “funky” dubplate today.


‘GYPO’ / ‘40 DAYS’
(BITASWEET 12″, 2002)

Mark “G” Force is perhaps one of the lesser known broken innovators – despite a large and varied discography that included progressive collaborations with Seiji in the Reinforced era, and numerous heavy dubplates during the noughties, he is still under-repped and underrated today. ‘Gypo’ is one of those tunes that many will recognise even if they don’t know the title. It’s an odd one that stops and starts, literally 2-step in that it has two parts to the groove – half garage bounce a la Maddslinky, half boogie a la Central Line, with a bassline that’s just nasty. And that’s about it – instant rewind at Co-Op as soon as the b-line dropped, and a crowd screaming for the heavy groove. As with many of these 12”s, the critics choice is on the flipside – ‘40 Days’ is a beautiful slice of home-made boogie that wouldn’t sound out of place on the People’s Potential label if it came out tomorrow. The force has always been strong with Mark, and this still stands the test of time, totally relevant to the post-garage, post-dubstep scene of today.


(BITASWEET, 12″, 2002)

Of all the tracks of the Goyamusic canon, ‘Loose Lips’ is perhaps the most well-known amongst casual listeners, and the one that crossed over to the widest audience. The heart of Loose Lips is a stripped down groove – a chopped drum break with Pierre Henry siren noises that echo away in the background, and in all honesty, not a whole lot else. The pattern in itself is noteworthy though – this was Seiji’s innovation, a double snare that emulates a Salsoul double clap at 130 bpm, a signature pattern often used in his work that followed. What makes the track so recognisable is Lyric L and her fast, high pitched voice rhyming with ease – “Loose lips, sink ships, flip scripts drama-tics” – repeated like a mantra for the length of the record. Easy to sing along with, or even shout along with, particularly if you’ve got a beer in your hand. The b-side ‘3dom’ is the real favourite though – hard to describe exactly why it’s so good, I guess it must be the hooky 5 note melody that leads it along. When Eve and Benga’s ‘Me and My’ blew up last year, it felt like ‘Loose Lips’ had set the stage for it seven years before.



Kaidi Tatham was the jazz virtuoso lynchpin in the Cooperation movement. Doubtlessly, most of the records listed here would not have existed if it wasn’t for Tatham, whose ability to improvise on countless instruments will leave you dumbfounded if experienced in the flesh. A masterful flautist, percussionist, keyboard player and more, it’s his signature changes, based on the styles of jazz greats like Herbie Hancock and Harry Whittaker, that take all the records he plays on to another level of harmony. Despite leading on countless sessions for his numerous friends and collaborators, Kaidi only received praise in his own name for a couple of anthems – the best known of which is ‘Betcha Did’, a heavily orchestrated work that sounds like the Mizell brothers playing at double their normal speed. On Feed The Cat, Kaidi finally got to helm his own album, and the results still sound compelling today – the title track, with its classic, richly textured UK boogie feel, pre-empted Dam-Funk’s revival of the genre by almost a decade. Elsewhere Kaidi fuses spiritual jazz, Brazilian rhythms and analog electronics, with such purity of intent and richness of execution that this surely will be a collector’s item in years to come

14: 4HERO
(TALKIN’ LOUD 12″, 2002)

This gem was where it all kicked off for Bugz In The Attic – a collaborative production outfit comprising Orin ‘Afronaught’ Walters, Paul ‘Seiji’ Dolby, Kaidi Tatham, Daz-I-Kue, Alex Phountzi, Cliff Scott, Mark Force, Matt Lord & Mikey Stirton. That’s a lot of folks crowded round one computer and one MIDI keyboard, and for those interested, no they did not all work on every track credited to that name. The ‘Hold It Down’ remix is the anthem that made them, however – as good as the 4hero original is, the remix takes the mood up a gear. It’s accessible enough to be pop, and has boogie at the very core of the beat, but the genius touch comes half way through, when the chords change and the lush vocals of Lady Alma overwhelm the mix. This 12” was very sought after at the time, due to multiple pressing delays, and even though it might be too rich and saccharine for today’s dancers, it’s a testament to a production team that were on fire in the studio, and such have been the recognized successors to Loose Ends and Soul II Soul in the UK soul canon.


(SURPLUS 12″, 2001)

Tony Nwachukwu is another fringe character in the UK soul scene who was co-opted into the Co-Op movement, now better known as the founder of CDR/Burntprogress. Though perhaps not as core a member as the West London lads, Tony’s relationship with the scene dated back to his co-production of Attica Blues with Charlie Dark, and together they ran the successful Blueprint Sessions clubnight at Plastic People around the same time as Co-Op first opened its doors. ‘The Way’ is one of those one-offs that slotted in perfectly to the mood of 2001. Tony always favoured a more techno-orientated approach to production, and this record stutters along with a heavy mesh of analog bass and drum machines ticking away, whilst a chopped up sample of Brainstorm tells us “I can show u the way”. It’s the sophisticated engineering that makes this track, with the best bit being the jokey sample of a certain classic mobile ringtone in the breakdown.


(BITASWEET 12″, 2002)

The better broken tunes tend to fall into one of two groups – either they are richly layered, colourful, soulful, and steeped in the lush over-production language of boogie funk, or alternatively, just stripped down dubs which propel the dance through rippling sine wave bass and thudding kicks and snares. Cockroach falls firmly into the latter group, and of all the bass-heavy dubs, is probably the best. Produced by Dego, the name ‘This Ain’t Tom N’ Jerry’ pokes fun at the hardcore records he and Mark produced under that alias in the early 90s. Despite the in-joke, both sides of this sound like they were made with left over samples from that era, a rumour which is unsubstantiated with the author. There’s nothing to dislike here, just two sides of the baddest, most ear splitting stripped down bass and drum you can hear this side of King Tubby played at the wrong speed. The Jammy’s vocal sample says it best – “this one a badbwoy choon!”.


(ARTHROB 12″, 1998)

Daz I Kue is the drum scientist behind many of the Bugz In The Attic tunes – Dalunartiks was a an early project with Alex Arnout which retained a raw hip hop feel, but at dancefloor tempo. ‘Higher’ has a B-boy quality, with Apache congas and horn stabs, whilst the drum groove is old-school but futuristic. The lush drop that follows the build is where it gets going – smooth Detroit pads meet gospel vocals to take it, literally, Higher. Essential because it blends a dusty crate quality with garage-style vocal chops and beats, and yet Daz’s signature afro funk is still all over it.


(SCHTUM 12″, 2005)

The most recent record in this selection, and one of the last of the golden era of Goyamusic. Schtum was Mark Force’s label. Here he collaborates with Bembe Segue, one of the first ladies of Co-Op, who vocalled a vast number of the genre’s records. Bembe’s style is part Ursula Dudziak, part Tina Turner, ‘Afrospace’ a swansong to the Co-Op feeling. Her words “Something was missing from deep within, I’ll survive”, empower a groove that is reflective and fractured. The remix by BITA whizkid and technical specialist Matt Thylord finds a space between boogie and garage and hits harder. A latter day classic.


(PEOPLE 12″, 2002)

Produced by IG Culture and featuring Eska Mtungwazi, one of the finest jazz singers to emerge from the broken beat scene [today she works mainly with Matthew Herbert]. Eska and IG collaborated frequently on his New Sector Movements project and solidified a rapport on record that was breathtaking at times. The Co-Op mix of ‘Let Groove Come’ is definitely one of their most accomplished, and feels like suspended animation on the dancefloor. It hits with a jerky drum pattern, rugged in the extreme, but Eska clears the air around it with her pitch perfect harmonies, like a breeze blowing through the speakers. The rougher Co-Op dubs of many of the tracks listed here were often never released, and only ever heard at the club, which could be frustrating when trying to track them down. Fortunately, this one made it to vinyl.


(2000 BLACK 12″, 2003)

And finally, the creative peak of Dego and Kaidi, the Gamble and Huff of broken beat. This one a certifiable anthem, played constantly and yet still not played out. From the moment the rich Juno pads open the track, it’s a showstopper, a slickly engineered recording, a virtuoso performance from Kaidi Tatham, and Dego at the top of his production game. Clearly this took a while to craft, as hinted at by the inscription “Big shout to Seiji & Mashi, it’s 5Dom l A.” This is built for the Plastic People sound system. The chorus has a gospel feel, the backing track is pensive and yet optimistic, electronic but still warm. The rhythm shuffles into infinity. This is the genre’s musical message personified

March 4, 2010

Catch Steady Rock Live this Sunday

Here is the biography taken from his website:

Steadyrock! - As Agent Provocateur in Musiocracy

As 2009 heads into its final stretch comes an album that’s instantly headed into best of the year territory.
The record in question is the long-awaited full-length release from Steadyrock! – a Mozambican-born, South African-living singer and songwriter who’s been the region’s best kept music secret for the past few years, beloved by a small but ever-growing band of fans.
Titled Steadyrock! As Agent Provocateur in Musiocracy, the 13-track album has it all: banging club tracks, radio ready hits, lyrics of love and unity, scorching summer songs – all held together by Steadyrock’s warm, easy voice.

That Steadyrock! has the goods to catapult into the mainstream and make an impact on a much wider spectrum of music fans is no mystery to those who’ve seen ‘White Wedding’, one of the most successful South African films in recent memory.

It’s Steadyrock’s song ‘My Favourite Song’ that opens the film, and four of his tracks are featured on the soundtrack album - his expansive, inviting songs tracking the emotional journey taken by the characters in the quintessentially South African romcom.

‘My Favourite Song’ makes an appearance on Agent Provocateur in Musiocracy, drawing a link between the film and Steadyrock’s debut full-length album – as well as with his 2008 record, ‘One World Citizen’ which is where Steadyrock! first debuted the cut.

The latter album was independently-released by Steadyrock! and became something of a treasure for music fans who were smitten by the live shows that have seen Steadyrock! play, either acoustically or with his band, at the likes of Oppikoppi, Old Mutual Encounters, and many other high-profile bills.

Now, with a freshly inked distribution deal with Electromode in the mix, Steadyrock’s enormously listenable mix of reggae, folk, rock, dancefloor, Afro-groove music is finally being made available to a much bigger audience.

‘One World Citizen’ earned Steadyrock! some substantial critical acclaim so it’s no wonder that several songs off it have been included the new record, among them ‘My Favourite Song’, ‘Nothing Compares2 U’, ‘Rock On’ and ‘The Best Days of My Life’ – all re-recorded and freshened up to deliver something new to even those fans who’ve been tracking Steadyrock’s recorded career for the past few years.

To add to this, the album’s new songs come with a charged energy that easily reveal Steadyrock’s versatility.

‘Out of the Storm’, for instance, is a rock-guitar suffused number that’s a revelation for those who’d had Steadyrock! pegged simply as an Afro-reggae artist. On this standout track, Steadyrock! and MXO let their voices take flight in the most affecting way, providing a perfect foil to the electric guitar that drives the music. Also adding a new dimension to Steadyrock’s arsenal of music talents is “She Ain’t Talking To Me” featuring Sgebi on a song that can easily give the likes of Justin Timberlake a run for his money and is a surefire radio hit. It’s the same with “I’m Back” featuring Mpho-Za - a song that puts the groove right to the fore, showcasing Steadyrock’s innate feel for a song, be it instantly commercial or critic-pleasing material.

Indeed, it was Steadyrock’s songwriting ability that saw him sign a deal with Sony ATV South Africa late 2007.

“In many ways that was a turning point for me,” Steadyrock! reveals. “I had been playing with other people, just trying to hustle a living out of playing live music but always believing that songwriting is where my real abilities lie. When Sony ATV offered me a deal based on the strength of my songs it was really the green light for me to focus on my original material and solo career in earnest.”

Until his Sony ATV deal, Steadyrock! – born Ivandro Jadir Jacinto, into a Mozambican family of musicians – had been riding under the radar for most of his music career, working with many best-selling artists as a songwriter, producer, and guitarist and performing as part of a duo. In fact, until his partner in a live duo unexpectedly left, Steadyrock! had never considered a solo career, let alone one where he took mic duties.

But, as is evident on ‘Agent Provocateur in Musiocracy’, Steadyrock! is a solo artist of real substance, capable of writing songs that are eclectic enough to appeal to a diverse fanbase but never ever straying out of the signature style that he’s has created over the past few years.

‘My Favourite Song’ featuring Cosmiq is a perfect example of this. The song is easily identifiable as a rock-reggae number but Spanish Fly’s propulsive bass and Kgosi Lethojane’s jaunty piano play off Steadyrock! and Cosmiq’s gorgeous vocals to create a song that lives up to its own billing (and is the subject of a really top-drawer video that’s already in rotation on Channel O and MTV Base).

‘Rock On’ - which has also been recast on Agent Provocateur in Musiocracy - features another sorely underrated talent MXO, and now is elevated into a dancefloor stomper with the inclusion of country-rockabilly guitar and some sci-fi-worthy effects. MXO’s easily identifiable rough-hewn vocal also appears on ‘Out Of The Storm’, yet again proving Steadyrock’s intuitive sense of just what singers and musicians may help him best serve the songs. The choice of PO Box of Kwani Experience to join in on ‘Life’s Wonderful (Africa Unite)’ is inspired, adding power to Steadyrock’s ability to sing about social issues and the need for unity in a way that’s never cloying or contrived.

But the skilful deployment of a brace of talent creative collaborators (including co-producers Mpho-Za, Omen and Badman) doesn’t for an instance mean Steadyrock! needs assistance to grip the attention of music fans. Just listen to ‘Good Old Days’ and ‘The Best Days of My Life’ and you’ll waste no time in joining with the Steadyrock! faithful in believing in this singular artist’s wondrous talent that’s’ equal parts songwriting, singer, guitar and performer,
Over the past few years, there’s been an army of believers who understand Steadyrock! has what it takes to become one of southern Africa’s most important artists.

“What has also played a role in building my confidence has been the love I’ve received from musicians, after I’ve played on the same bill as them,” Steadyrock! confides, giving an inkling of just how positively this artist is viewed by his peers. “It’s also been amazing working with so many different people over the years, and being able to play live on so many different bills. All of this has fed into the songs and production you hear on the new album.”

He’s already written material for the likes of actor-singer Emmanuel Castis as well as MXO and others, and alongside his music in ‘White Wedding’, Steadyrock! also contributed music to the recent docu-movie, Hidden Heart – Story of Chris Barnard and Hamilton Naki.

As a songwriter, Steadyrock! is prolific, with a catalogue of over 100 songs he’s written over the years. “I’m always writing,” he says. “There’s hardly anything more satisfying to me than creating something that affects people emotionally, and spiritually.”
Thankfully with the release of Steadyrock! As Agent Provocateur in Musiocracy at least some of those songs are to get a more mainstream airing on an album that’s, hands-down, one of 2009’s best.

STEADYROCK! As Agent Provocateur in Musiocracy tracklisting:
1. Nothing compares 2 U
2. Life’s Wonderful (Africa Unite) Feat- P O Box From Kwani Experience)
3. I’m Back Feat: Mpho-za
4. Rock On Feat- MXO
5. P.I.G ( Psychologically Independent Girls)
5. Good Old Days
6. Out of the Storm Featuring MXO
7. She Ain’t Talking To Me Feat- Sgebi
8. Good old days
9. Set the roof on fire
10. Best Days
11. People of All Colors
12. My favorite song Feat COSMIQ - Movie Soundtrack (The white wedding)
13. Woman