July 20, 2017
Umoja | 707 & "Om" Alec Khaoli | Say You Love Me
TITLE: 707 Say You Love Me
LABEL: Awesome Tapes From Africa
With global interest in the disco era peaking right now, people ought to be checking out bubblegum, South Africa’s local answer to disco. Awesome Tapes From Africa is right on time with these two reissues. “Om” Alec Khaoli came to prominence as the bassist for The Beaters, a popular 70s Soweto soul band that morphed into Harari as soul gave way to disco. When Harari disbanded in the early 80s Khaoli built the first privately-owned recording studio in the country and began experimenting with synthesizers, the Roland TR-707 drum machine and the Vocorder. His 1985 solo EP Say You Love Me defines bubblegum’s basic parameters: distinctively South African melodies from township styles like mbaqanga, marabi and kwela, gospel-influenced vocals, four-on-the-floor drum machine beats and synth washes, all created in a sanitized studio environment. Umoja’s 707 in 1988 was Khaoli’s big breakthrough: all four songs on this EP hit #1 and the record went double-platinum. All the elements of kwaito, South Africa’s version of house music and one of the country’s greatest musical exports, are here a few years before its time.
TOP TRACKS: 707: 1 2 3 4 Say You Love Me: 1 2 4
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