The powerful fusion of African and Afro-diasporic rhythmical flavours with dark, industrial, cyber-futuristic sounds has only just begun. On one side of the spectrum there is Bison & Squareffekt’s uplifting, ethereal future tarraxo, on the other side you have Nazar’s grim, apocalyptic rough kuduro. Only Now’s unique approach lies exactly in between. In an interview with Factmag, avant-garde bass alrounder Kush Arora, the man behind the project Only Now, describes his style as a combination of African rhythms with the cinematic ambiance and aesthetics of cyberpunk.
Only Now is the outcome of a long incubation period of experimenting with percussion slowly crystallising into a whole new sound. The result is magnificent. Incredibly rich, subtly distorted polyrhythmic percussion dissolves into a thick noiresque ambiance of dark cinematic noise and breathtaking melodic soundscapes. Influences, next to African electronic genres like kuduro, tarraxo and gqom, are drawn from cinematic ambient, 80s synth music, industrial, dark techno and post internet avant-garde flavours such as vaporwave.
Listening to Only Now transports you to the borderline of the present-day reality of a rapidly transforming Africa and science fiction. Inevitably this EP will lead you to revisit the questions raised by the cyberpunk movement of the 1980s about technology, inequality and oppression from the perspective of the global south, Africa in particular.
As Bruce Sterling wrote in Wired magazine back in 2010:
“Africa is science fiction.
Not the science fiction of your grandfather or the Foundation of your Asimov, no. Africa lends herself to the dystopian gloom of failed states, the iron rule of corruption, cartels snaking cold fingers into the upper echelons of government, and high tech gangs of disillusioned youth. Follow her streets into dark melancholy and taste her despair, the bitter and the sweet simmering together to form her unique flavor. Follow the trails of waste spilling out from her gutters, follow them down to the banks of her industrial empires, her charred forests, and damp mines. […] Embrace her reality.
Africa is cyberpunk.”
The release of Only now EP was officially celebrated yesterday night at GRIME CITY San Francisco´s 10 year anniversary party (with Santa Muerte also in the line-up!!)
Buy the EP on Bandcamp! (Also available on casette tape!)
Check out the concept music video for No Escape which we shared earlier!
And a short excerpt from the live-show!
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