album due from acclaimed South African band.
By Blurt Staff
Anyone who caught BLK JKS at SXSW in Austin this past
March knows that all the critical praise lavished on the South African band’s Mystery EP was not just hype – the group
delivered, serving up a thumping blend of dubby Afro-beat, hard-edged rock and
psychedelic griots. Now comes word that a full-length, After Robots, is due on Sept. 8 courtesy Secretly Canadian. The
scoop from the label:
JKS consists of childhood friends Lindani Buthelezi and Mpumi Mcata who grew up
on the same block in Johannesburg’s East Rand where they taught themselves guitar. After the
band’s current lineup took shape with the addition of bassist Molefi Makananise
and drummer Tshepang Ramoba, both of Soweto,
they embarked on a schedule of heavy touring throughout South Africa
that earned them a loyal national following.
JKS first came to the U.S.
in the spring of 2008 after a chance meeting with über-producer Diplo while he
was on tour in South Africa.
The band’s appearance on the cover of the Fader, as well as highly acclaimed
sets at South by Southwest, sparked recording sessions at New York’s famed Electric Lady studios that
resulted in the Mystery EP. They have gone on to share stages in North America and Europe with
a celebrated and disparate array of artists including Femi Kuti, Santigold,
Dirty Projectors, Michael Franti and Cody Chesnutt; they have played Sasquatch
and Soweto Arts Festival; and drummer Tshepang Ramoba has been celebrated by Billboard
as “the best musician” at SXSW.
The essence of BLK JKS’ music-a
collision of township blues, fringe jazz and renegade dub, heard via the lens
of prog-shines through even more on the new album. Music from Africa
has never sounded like this, as BLK JKS bring the concept of afro-futurism into
a new century. After
Robots was recorded January in
Bloomington, IN as BLK JKS traded a South African summer for winter in America
and burrowed in for marathon recording sessions of one live take after the
next. Brandon Curtis of Secret Machines returned to join the band at the
controls and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble appears on several tracks with the swagger
of aggressive horn stabs, but throughout After Robots is an original BLK JKS affair-a distinctly South African vision of
rock’s global travel and the possibility of what it can sound like from here on
Check out “Mololatladi” from the album, which literally
means rainbow in Zulu, as a free mp3: