Artist: Kid Fonque
Album: Kid Fonque And Friends
Label & Year: Soul Candi, 2013
By Kagiso Mnisi
So long as the Fonque goes on… Kid Fonque is an impresario able to warm up to house heads with ease and at the same time top the list of music snobs who would rather associate him with Electronica. His latest offering, Kid Fonque And Friends via Soul Candi, is his way of saying "you relegate me to Joburg backyards, warehouse and even rooftop parties at your peril!". Fonque does this with the help of compatriots such as Jozi-grime wunderkid Okmalumkoolkat, Jonny Miller and Zaki Ibrahim.
He cooks up an easy-to-palate alchemy as evident in the song ‘Don't Forget Me’ ft. Charles Webster and Khensy, which is easily a vocally bewitching party closer be you at a peri-urban shindig around Tembisa (east of Joburg) or a leafy suburb gathering in the north of the city.
The succeeding joint, ‘Spread Love’ ft. Sahin Meyer, goes back to a late 1980s and early 90s incarnation of house music via Chicago, when South Africans used to colloquially refer to it as 'international', as a sound that came from abroad and was usually challenging to get hold of because of the country's apartheid laws.
Alluring to the senses is another winner on the album, ‘Be’, which features Zaki Ibrahim and DJ Whisky. The song is a sultry piece of work that has Ibrahim embarking on her signature style of new age vocal grooves. The song has gained acclaim through remixes by Jullian Gomes, Atjazz and Jonny Miller; as well as nods from majors such as King Britt and DJ Cam.
‘Usangikhumbula’ has Okmalumkoolkat's urban-trend-setting narrative looming large. This is heard in the delivery of his lazy grime alongside Kid Fonque's eclectic touch. Okmalumkoolkat's lyrics opens the lid to lost love and the complexities of being in a relationship as he drawls “we broke up in 99 eish ndabhala incwadi /umthetho wakho uhlal'ukhala.” ‘Usangikhumbula’ is also a joint effort with Cuebur, Andy Boi and Jonny Miller.
Kid Fonque's past projects, namely Saladamundo Vol. 1 & 2, teetered on bedroom and smoky lounge listening, whereas this latest release pushes the envelope and bounce steps its way to the mainstream with no fail. However, romantics such as I would rather be immersed in his earlier experimental work, for they too can easily play a pivotal role in the modern-day house/electronica scene as timeless projects. That is not to take anything away from Kid Fonque And Friends for it is a cleverly curated project that brings diverse voices to the fold. Whether House or Electronica, it is an important piece of contemporary work.