Amapiano Volume 4 – Various Artists

Amapiano Volume 4 - Various Artists

The name may have been coined by township dancers, but House Afrika & Born In Soweto have made ‘AmaPiano’ a house-hold name over the past couple of years. The fourth volume in their ‘AmaPiano’ series showcases a genre that is in very good health indeed.

KWiiSH SA kicks off proceedings with a lavish piece of new age kwaito titled “Iskhathi (Gong Gong)”, with sneaky kasi vocal snippets puncturing a chunky bassline. The track – from one of the gifted producers in the Gaba Cannal Music Family – has been floating around for a bit (it already has hundreds of thousands of YouTube views) but this official release ensures it’ll be one of THE tracks of 2019.

The promising ThackzinDJ is up next with one of two contributions that almost resemble half-speed gqom with their driving drums, staccato keys and menacing basslines. They show that rather than usurp gqom, AmaPiano and that fiercer genre can be a great match.

Kabza De Small is a veteran in this relatively young genre, and his two tunes don’t disappoint – “Yebo Pa” is choppy and atmospheric; the collaboration with Stokie and Leehleza resembles a viable future for sci-fi kwaito.

De Mthuda, another of the Gaba Cannal Music fam, may be a new name to this series, but he’s certainly no amateur – the tracks he turns in (one a collaboration with Ntokzin) are exercises in calm, restraint and divine jazz – captivating and leftfield. Ntokzin himself also features, and his solo endeavour shares many of the same traits – complex percussion offset by brightly-coloured chords.

Mdu aka TRP also features twice, and the tunes are relatively busy examples of AmaPiano. Despite their leisurely tempos, there are rich seams happening in their apparent stasis. Meanwhile, Kay Invictus’s submission takes the driving Afro-tech sound and dials the speed back; and ‘AmaPiano’ series regular Luu Ninelevenlets some sun shine through the woodblock percussion.

Whether blasting out of shop store speakers, club rigs or taxis, AmaPiano certainly isn’t going anywhere – this disc just proves that point.

01. Kabza De Small feat. Leehleza & Dj Stokie – Bamba La
02. ThackzinDJ – Freak Like Me (Main Mix)
03. KWiiSH SA – Iskhathi (Gong Gong)
04. Kabza De Small – Yebo Pa
05. Kay Invictus – Mduva
06. ThackzinDJ – Paradise 1475 (Main Mix)
07. Ntokzin – References (Main Mix)
08. Mdu a.k.a TRP – 911 (Original Mix)
09. De Mthuda & Ntokzin – Blissful Day
10. Mdu a.k.a TRP – Sghubu (Main Mix)
11. Luu Nineleven – Wang’sukela (Original Mix)
12. De Mthuda – Abuti Gee (Main Mix)