'Only Love' for South Africa
One of South Africa’s finest tag teams, Monocles & Slezz, are up next on Foliage Records with a delicious slice of deep dance, Only Love. The pair is backed by Brit house producer Andy Compton, of The Rurals fame, and accomplished US vocalists Tantra Zawadi and DanaByrd – a soulful dream team by any stretch of the imagination.
Monocles & Slezz’ original production glides on slick 4-4 drums and deep, shimmering keys, quickly pulling the listener into Zawadi and Byrd’s mesmering song ‘n’ spoken word interplay about perfect, heaven-on-earth love, and a run of sweet, jazzy guitar and vibes solos.
Monocles & Slezz
Russian-born studiosmith Kojo Akusa (a Johannesburg staple following the release last year of EP Sepia with The Guests Of Nature) plumbs even deeper depths, the mellow, afro-pulsin’ rhythms of his exclusive remix rolling beneath a heady swirl of vocals, tinkling synths and guitars. Montreal’s IndySoul (AKA DJ-producer Carl Guerard) ups the percussive ante, meanwhile, with a sweet Latin-flecked shuffle bolstered by smart but sparingly used drum rolls, powerful throbs of analogue bass, and more introspective, mightily soulful key work.
Legendary US remixer-producer Gene King, whose lengthy discography covers everything from Easy Street to 157 Shelter, lands an effortlessly funky, footloose and fancy-free afro-funk jam which grooves on ultra-slinky guitar moves, gloriously understated Rhodes and, again, those empassioned vocals. That leaves rapidly emerging South African talent TekniQ (AKA Thabang Ntuli) to deliver the release’s final remix, wrapping peppy Afro-bump in meditative but ultimately uplifting production based upon moody thrusts of string, echoed synths and soaring keys.
Monocles, an alter ego for DJ Matshidi (real name Tshidiso Moeng), first met Slezz UlteeMate (real name Tebogo Leshotho) in 2008, both hailing from golden South African city Welkom; both involved in music from their early teens. The pair’s shared passion for a wide range of deep soulful dance, be it house, tech, Afro or broken beat, was quickly made evident and exploited, resulting in roof-raising residencies at Welkom clubs Afrovibe, De Zone and Village Palace, big remixes for local artists such as Coltrane, Room 806 and Paso Doble, and slammin’ productions including Afrika and Canary Islands.
Video courtesy of Foliage Records
Talented young duo Monocles & Slezz have now stepped onto the international stage with Foliage. They’re ready. Only Love is an exciting taste of what is to come next year when the boys finally release their debut album – musical, memorable, magical, Only Love is the kind of deep, spiritual house that makes you glad to be alive. Love is most definitely the message.
‘Only Love’ is out now on Foliage Records.