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Felix Laband

The Return of Snakehips

by Dustin van Zyl / 07.04.2011

Perhaps the hiatus has been too long, all the anticipation turned to ennui. Perhaps in the interim the fans have grown older, got serious jobs and started listening to Prime Circle, perhaps I’m a cynic.

It is with a little trepidation and a lot of tequila that I convince the friends I’m having dinner with to accompany me to Kitchener’s to check out DJ Snakehips. The last time I saw Felix Laband play at Fuel Cafe it was a fucking mess, the man so adept at digital he may as well have a groovebox wired directly to his brain could hardly operate a mixer, opting on a couple of occasions not to at all, the silence in between tracks was pathogenic, infecting the crowd with obstinate apathy at the artist’s demise.

Thin Shoes in June and 4/4 Down the Stairs were the soundtrack to my misspent youth, sounds arranged and manipulated to tell the story of what it was to be young and South African and frustrated and sad and hopeful. Dark Day’s Exit is an opus and in my opinion remains one of the finest albums ever produced by a South African artist.

But Dark Days Exit was just that, an exit, through a back door at what was the height of something so promising. Dark days followed.

Felix Laband, Kitcheners

We arrive and it’s likely that the euphoria of convincing a less than friendly police officer that I am not drunk driving and my subsequent victory dance in a Braamfontein garage forecourt has bolstered my confidence. As we pass through the door into an atmosphere full of love, sweat and rolling basslines I feel vindicated. Snakehips has been on for a couple of tracks already and the dancefloor is undulating to the deep and dirty ebb and flow of this bass heavy post-house.
“It smells like sex in here.” says one of my dinner chums.
“It feels like it too!” a stranger shouts back.

Felix drops a couple of new tracks from the formerly much anticipated not so new album Deaf Safari and it floods back, this is demon fighting music, laid out across the aural landscape that speaks from the collective consciousness of this continent itself. It is so African, and so much more, kwaito beats, marimba and tinkling keys over rolling, evil basslines, postmodern pastiche. Dark Days Exit was unanimously praised as the future of African electronica, it sounds like Deaf Safari may be the present.

Perhaps the hiatus wasn’t too long.

Felix Laband, DJ Snakehips, Kitcheners

Felix Laband, DJ Snakehips, Kitcheners

Felix Laband, DJ Snakehips, Kitcheners

Felix Laband, DJ Snakehips, Kitcheners

Felix Laband, DJ Snakehips, Kitcheners

Felix Laband, DJ Snakehips, Kitcheners

Felix Laband, DJ Snakehips, Kitcheners

Felix Laband, DJ Snakehips, Kitcheners

Felix Laband, DJ Snakehips, Kitcheners

Images © Dustin van Zyl.

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RESPONSES (20)
  1. Sarah Dee says:

    I had such a fucking rad time at the Durban gig some weeks ago. One of not very many though. It seems it may have been too long for some people this side of town.

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  2. technics1210mkii says:

    the music is good, but felix cant dj for toffee.

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  3. Andrew the DJ says:

    What is DJing for toffee?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    alt=”Felix Laband, DJ Snakehips, Kitcheners” width=”480″ height=”320″ />
    – haha

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  5. mega-douche says:

    he should get ‘fingerhead’ together again. 5+ guitar players, and hellfire it was! Ace! Don’t go smacky kids!

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  6. mother clougher says:

    great pictures!

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  7. Jonn Carr Laani says:

    Great article, Great pics
    wish I was there

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  8. caution says:

    never trust a junkie.never.

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  9. Fuck caution says:

    Takes a sad fucker to bitch about an artists past, when it takes guts to get back up again and perform in front of a skeptical crowd. Well done Felix I enjoyed the gig.

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  10. caution says:

    never.

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  11. joe burger says:

    caution, you’re a sad, talentless hater. were you even there? i didn’t think so. go back to your bedroom and dream you could play some music and someone else than your mom came to watch you.

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  12. caution says:

    not ever

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  13. mega-douche says:

    any exceptions?

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  14. caution says:

    never means never. once a junkie, always.

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  15. 12 steps says:

    shame caution. was your daddy a junkie and did he molest you while playing Felix’s music in the background? Why are you so obsessed Felix’s past rather than the amazing work he’s doing right now? You comment is so irrelevant to what the review is about…..what’s your problem? why cant you give a guy a break?

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  16. Roger Young says:

    Hey caution an ex junkie is the deputy editor of this site. And guess what, by posting a comment we got your IP address. From there our team of junkie hackers is going to strip your bank account and shit on your carpet. Thanks for playing!

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  17. 12 steps says:

    Roger- you rock! Ex Junkies have probably contributed more beauty to this world than those that live life with extreme caution.

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  18. caution says:

    roger and his up to date team of junkie hackers have obviously not heard of mobile networks and dynamic IP addresses.

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  19. n.x.n says:

    No, caution, they may not have.

    But they’re not me.

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  20. […] part of Ninja Tune’s artist roster – from Blockhead to Mr Scruff to Kid Koala. Names such as Felix Laband, Markus Wormstorm, Sibot, and a handful of others crafted sonic textures which effectively altered […]

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