15 February 2011

Back from the past


Years ago when I was doing my specialist international Hip-Hop radio show KONFAB was one of the most exciting artists on my playlist. Firstly, the show was being broadcast in Cape Town, South Africa which made him a local artist. But then, he wasn’t even local, since he originates from Lesotho. Secondly, or is it already thirdly and can we actually agree to abandon the numbers needed to indicate the order of my arguments, especially since the order is random, KONFAB has a curious accent where the R’s are rolling in an unusual way that reminds me of my own first language. He was, perhaps still is, part of the Writer's Block crew; a name which has much meaning for the Cape Town Hip-Hop community. Then there are very importantly at least two more things: he’s a brilliant, really a fantastic lyricist albeit occasionally including a few objectionable quotables, and he makes great, catchy yet thought provoking songs with nice hooks that leave you unsure that what was it that hooked you, but not whether it did. His music is experimental and complicated yet so often straight forward; he always came across paradoxical, but I always have liked his music. I was very happy to hear his songs, when living in UK, from the Mary Anne Hobbs show on BBC Radio 1. Songs like This is How We Roll and Run on Sentence.

Then what happened? I think he moved to Tswhane or somewhere. I think he’s an engineer or something. I saw him performing live only once in Cape Town. It was the same time I saw Rattex live for the first time. And I think there should be some more music coming at some point. Or at least that has been the word in the web.

But his collection of old is now online under the banner The Lost Tapes.

The idea of the so called Lost Tapes is generally suspicious to say the least. What, someone like Nas had actually lost some old tapes and now we can pay good money to get this content so very nearly lost and forgotten into our collection? I very much doubt it. But KONFAB’s lost tapes were not just songs that weren’t good enough to make it into some best seller. It’s very different scenario altogether. These songs have been, as declared by the label, “recovered from the twisted wreckage of charred hard drives, scratched CD-Rs and dusty tape reels,” and that’s very plausible; no doubt true. I used to follow KONFAB’s tracks as they were coming out when Myspace was the answer to most questions musical by nature and many of these tracks are familiar from those times. I am only listening to it for the first time now, while writing this and I’m being currently taken back in time and having the gaps of the past bridged. This is an entity of twenty tracks of which I know maybe less than ten. With this collection KONFAB is back from the past and hopefully soon making more future music that will sound as fresh as this now when one day in the future it takes me back again.

Now listen, download and feel free to support.

The Lost Tapes - KONFAB
Album artwork by Pioneer Unit and image nicked from Dplanet's Flickr.

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