Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Outer Tumbolia in Richard Haslop's Best of 2009 List

Richard Haslop, he of the insightful record reviews during the 80's in South Africa's only legal girlie magazine, SCOPE, has made his 'Best of 2009' list available. Ok, that's not a fair introduction at all but it was the first time I came across his name and SCOPE did open my eyes, er ... introduced me to a couple of hard to track down muscial gems in an otherwise bleak cultural desert of top 40 80's radio pop.

Richard continued to educate the masses on radio on SAFM's now much missed Roots to Fruits show where all manner of indie, jazz, americana and africana got a rare airing and is also a contributer to online 'zine Perfect Sound Forever where he exposed, to a larger online community, the likes of Not Even the TV  and Kalahari Surfers.

Amongst entries for BLK JKS, Califone amd Tinariwen, here's what he had to say about Outer Tumbolia and Strung Like a Compound Eye coming in at number 34.

"One of the few givens in any South African music year, other than the fact that, by and large, it’s likely to disappoint most people listening outside a fairly narrow box (it’s a lack of opportunity to hear what’s worth hearing, unless you know someone who knows where to find it on the Net, and who to find, that causes this, rather than an absence of anything worth hearing), is that pretty much anything Cape Town experimental guitarist Righard Kapp releases, on whichever is the latest of his impossibly obscure imprints and no matter how limited the edition, will be worth getting, and getting into.

2009 was no exception – Kapp’s own ‘Strung Like A Compound Eye’ makes a terrific fist of what are broadly the three strings to his musical bow, namely the fine acoustic guitar instrumentalist, the ever inquisitive sonic investigator and the affecting songwriter, none of which ever quite ends up where you expect it to.

Ramon Galvan is a likeminded soul who used to be in the excellent Blackmilk; his refusal to be pinned down stylistically, his unwillingness to treat his wonderful voice as a conventional rock instrument and his lively musical imagination have led to a kind of quietly compelling, meticulously wrought, unexpectedly addictive folk/jazz/chamberpop artsong hybrid that keeps serving up surprises."
This is expected to be published in print over the next two issues of Audio Video Magazine.

Speaking of 'Africana' it was particularly thrilling to see Pieter Hugo's photographs of Konono No.1 in the April 2010 edition of Wire Magazine.

A more fitting marriage of photographer and subject I cannot imagine!


  1. Mr. Hopkin,

    I have been put in charge of a blog which focuses on Marxhausen's work. My goal is to document as much of Marxy's work as possible.

    Could you tell me what your source was for the information in your post on Marxhausen's sound sculptures?

    I've included a link to that post in the Marxhausen blog:

  2. Hi,

    The source is quoted at the end of the original blog post:

    Gravikords Whirlies and Pyrophones
    Bart Hopkin
    1996 Ellipsis Arts