The Hook Upby Themba Kriger / Images by JR Onyangunga / 17.11.2011
Kyle hadn’t stopped bitching since they had left his apartment and was starting to work on Sam’s nerves. He was becoming repetitive and so she slid her CDR of the new Card On Spokes EP, In You Go, into the CD player which she got through her part-time writing gig at a scene blog. They were on their way to Observatory for the launch of the EP and she didn’t want anything, or anyone, to spoil her evening.
“It’s early and we’re in Cape Town. The house is going to be fucking empty.” Kyle whined as they got out of the car. It was just before seven and the launch had started about two hours ago. Sam knew that he was probably right, but she was hoping to chat with some of the producers and DJs she knew would be there early, without too much competition from the other scenesters.
“Please, keep telling me why this party is going to suck.” She said sarcastically. “Maybe I will change my mind just before we get our stamps.” She had already compromised by leaving later than she had wanted and was getting tired of his sulking. The two didn’t exchange another word until they had arrived at the bar at the back of the house. Sam knew Kyle was broke and was about to offer to buy him a beer but before she could, Kyle said that he was going to chill outside and roll a joint.
“I’m going to check out Dank” she replied.
The dancefloor was setup in the first room of the house and featured a full light and laser rig. Dank was dropping a mixture of Los Angeles glitch, with its deep bass and chopped up melodies, and old school hip hop. Sam walked outside and to the side of the house, where a number of plastic chairs we setup on the grass and Kyle was sitting, scooping the last bits of weed into the joint he had rolled.
“Cheer up!” she chirped. “It’s not actually all that empty and Dank is playing some dope shit.”
“Yeah, but this is like a house party and I don’t know anybody.” Kyle mumbled in response.
“I don’t know what to say Kyle.” Sam said, getting slightly irritated again. “Let’s just smoke this joint and play some table tennis.”
After the game Sam managed to drag Kyle to the dancefloor. As they walked into the room, Dank dropped “Regulate” by Warren G, a favourite for the crowd and Sam. She rushed to the centre of the room and began to dance, while Kyle stood against the wall at the back. A bass heavy track with intricate breaks came on next, which Dank introduced as one of his latest productions. It got Kyle’s head nodding and made him wish he caught its name.
Sam went to the bar as Mr Sakitumi began setting up, returning with a beer for herself and Kyle. Standing with him at the back of the room she said, “see, this isn’t so bad.” He nodded. “Still don’t know any people though.”
Rather than say anything, Sam returned to her spot in the front of the room. Mr Sakitumi was one of her favourite producers, mainly because he added an additional musical element to his live performance, by playing live bass through effects alongside the loops coming from his laptop. She liked that his sound was more multi-genre, reminding her of the Ninja Tune releases that were her first exposure to electronic music. Mr Sakitumi played a mixture of tracks from his recently released album, Secret Asian Man, as well as other unreleased tracks and remixes. At the end of the set, Sam looked back to check if Kyle was still there. He was still standing where she left him, looking unimpressed by the amazing set Mr Sakitumi had just played.
She almost asked him what was bothering him, but bit her tongue, knowing the answer would just irritate her. Instead she gave him 30 Rand and told him “it’s your turn to go.” When he came back, Sam was talking to two girls he recognised from Cold Turkey as Thembi and Sindi. Unable to muster the basic niceties necessary for superficial conversation, he returned to wall at the back of the room. As Card On Spokes finished setting up, he lets out a sigh. Only one more hour and we can go home, he thought to himself.
The room was packed as Card On Spokes started his set. His setup involved a micro Korg, a Roland synth, his laptop as well as a number off effect units. Sam was at the front, intent on not missing a thing, flanked by Thembi and Sindi. The anticipation lay heavily in the air. Although most of the crowd had already heard his EP, they were still keen on seeing Card On Spokes pull it off live. When he began, it becomes clear that they will not be disappointed. Sam freaked out with the rest of the crowd when she noticed that while he does launch loops from his laptop, he plays the bass lines and melodies live on the synth. Listening to the EP is one thing, experiencing it live is another.
Looking at the two girls dancing next to her, Sam mused, this is Cape Bass at its’ best! Not too much glitch, with a hint of hip hop and just enough bass. Thabo, a friend of the girls, has joined them at the front. He gave Sam a hug and a kiss on the cheek, which made her blush a little, since she had a bit of a thing for him. Meanwhile, Card On Spokes was playing both his synths at the same time, which reminded her of one those 80s music videos. From the corner of her eye she noticed that Thabo was dancing pretty close to her. Maybe it’s time for a reality check, she thought.
Kyle’s feelings were the only reason she hadn’t hooked up with anyone since they started hanging out at the beginning of the year. Having both moved down from Johannesburg at that time meant that they both shared a sense of alienation; something which Sam felt had become decreasingly relevant.
“Fuck it” she thought and moved a little closer to Thabo. He acknowledged her positive body language by moving in even closer, putting his right arm around her back and leading their movements. Card On Spokes was playing the title track from his EP and her favourite song. What a perfect moment, she thought. Not noticing the giggles from Thembi and Sindi, the pair kept dancing until the end of the set. As people began to leave the room, she noticed that Kyle was no longer at the back. Fuck, I really don’t feel like dealing with his shit now, but since he is my lift home I’d better find him, she thought.
“Have you seen Kyle?” Sam asked Nina, who was working the door. “Yeah, he left about 30 minutes ago.”
“Shit, I guess he saw me dancing with Thabo.”
“You were dancing with Thabo? You bitch!” Nina said with a grin. “Don’t worry; you can grab a taxi with me and the girls back to town. Thabo is coming too. You in?”
“Only since you asked so nicely” Sam smiled.
*All images © JR Onyangunga.