Review

Emerging deep-house producer Da Volta drops a traditionalist Afro-beat-inspired debut titled Dark Matter

Meet Lehlogonolo Gift Ngobeni: 23-year-old afro-tech and deep-house producer who goes by the name Da Volta. His debut EP Dark Matter came out last month, after inking a deal with Cape Town independent label Space Sounds, and while he’s not yet reached industry-level status, this dedicated beat-maker is headed in the right direction. 

Taking inspiration from traditional African song and the legendary instrumentalist Fela Kuti, Da Volta brings an intricate stylistic blend to his deep-tech sound, creating a meditative soundscape where glints of Afro-beat shine through. 

“Voltaic Mode” shows that exact blend of genres, looping toned down gqom-rhythms under a spiky electro-melody, while title track “Dark Matter” takes the metallic of his music to greater depths before transitioning into a synth-heavy vocal mix on “The Dancing Girl”. 

But if anything, Da Volta could benefit from being more daring with his next release. I think too often producers don’t approach their music as a song to be written, but rather a mix that runs until it’s over, and maybe that’s where Da Volta could do a little better. It’s the gentle melodic touches and the true intent behind his composition that he’s missing. 

Still, for an emerging producer with a keyboard and a computer at his fingertips, Da Volta’s musical spirit is here to take him places.