Review

Surreal Sessions takes classic gqom straight into the future in their minimalist Qaphela Izinja EP

Qaphela Izinja – which translates as “beware of dogs” – is a gut punch of a 4-track EP navigating original gqom with deft modern footwork.

You might know these guys from CTEMF and Afropunk stages – they’ve been tracking the beating heart of the Cape Town gqom scene for a while now, crafting tunes which simultaneously hark back to that old Toyota Hiace minibus which spilled the first gqom tracks into the streets of Durban – unsurprisingly the very bus which inspired their last EP, The Siyaya.

They pay homage to that sound as much as they juggle with futuristic synth, idle elements of two-step, and even yaadt (that oscure branch of house music which has emerged from the Cape Flats over the last few years).

The EP is pivoted off stripped, hollow beats and off-kilter vocal loops. “Qaphela Izinja” kicks things off an easy, low tempo build, steering things up to a cruising altitiude. “Blindspot” is awash in fizzing synths and an edgy build – while “Danger, Gevaar, Ingozi” packs a punch with hearty, dirty beats and fibrillating textures.

It’s not over yet though – as “Sagat” keeps the heady momentum with a clattering beat and ’80’s heavy synth, punctured by sharp whistles, Surreal Sessions keep you reeling right till the end.