Electronic In Africa

Electronic artist Felix Laband is something of a legend in the local music scene, having become known for making sounds that can only be described as somewhat strange and evocative. It has been 10 years since his last album ‘Dark Days Exit’ was released, so we were excited to hear that his latest one titled ‘Deaf Safari’ is now out. Consisting of sample recordings which he collected over the past 10 years, he calls this album “an audio collage” made up of subjects that interest him and speak of the world he lives in.

What makes this album more mature compared to his earlier stuff, he tells us, is that it has a sociopolitical tone to it but resists taking a specific stance. He says, “The most important development in my current music and as can be heard on Deaf Safari has been my understanding of the beauty and power of the spoken word.” To find sounds that accurately convey his personal experience in the African world he occupies, he sampled from outside of the usual musical influences. Instead he looked to preacher sermons, contemporary African documentaries, field recordings by Alan Lomax of Negro Prison, and chain gang work songs to find sounds that fit. He also credits the South African Kwaito-House scene, and says that he experimented with all of these to create what he calls his own “South African House album”.

To celebrate the release of ‘Deaf Safari’, he will be doing two live performances in Cape Town’s New Space Theatre on 10 and 11 July. These promise to be darkly emotive encounters, as he will be performing unique, deconstructed live renditions of the album in collaboration with visual artist Kerry Chaloner and Jazz musician Shane Cooper.

For the cover art, Felix teamed up with graphic designer, director and photographer Ben Johnson to create the album and vinyl covers which are as textured and layered as his sounds.

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