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Larger and livelier, AmaPiano Is A LifeStyle Vol. 1 hits the streets

Written by on June 2, 2019

AmaPiano Is A LifeStyle Vol. 1

HAR201903. 31st May 2019.

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Over four volumes of the ‘AmaPiano’ series, House Afrika & Born In Soweto has defined and cemented the style as Mzansi music’s latest invention of note. With AmaPiano more popular than ever across the country, they’ve stepped up the game with a new series, ‘AmaPiano Is A Lifestyle’.

This might be described as ‘New Age AmaPiano’; the genre’s key descriptors – chunky woodblock percussion, tight and propulsive keyboard loops, the slow pace – are intact, but these cuts also borrow from deep Afro-house, gqom and even R&B.

The compilation also includes the massive tune “Shesha” by De Mthuda & Njelic. Currently top of the iTunes chart and numerous others, it’s an atmospheric, cinematic slow-burner, with soulful vocals, a sunny temperament, a killer bassline and some phone tones for the storyline.

Other notable tracks include “Bum Bum” by El Maestro feat. TP – with Afro-tech and ragga vocals in the mix – and “iGama”, the first time AmaPiano and gqom have shared a playing field. A collaboration between Gaba Cannal and Dladla Mshunqisi, it’s meant to “quell any suggestions that’s there’s any rivalry between the artists” in each style. Both of the above have just been released as standalone singles.

Elsewhere and despite the “new age” nature of the music, many of AmaPiano’s key players are accounted for. Luu Nineleven kicks us off with a remix of Cyburmusiq feat. Jozina, which adds a vocoder to the ghostly vocal; MDU aka TRP appears twice, and both have expressive rhythm tracks and plunging bass – “H&M” even includes some gorgeous piano solos.

Ntokzin is also on double-duty with some very inventive drum-programming; while lesser known names like Semi Tee, Entity MusiQ, Sam Deep & De JazzMiQz and Tribesoul justify their places alongside these heavyweights with pure pressure AmaPiano – sky-high chords, chopped vocals, big drum builds and even – yes – some piano.

If there’s one thing this collection proves it’s that AmaPiano isn’t going anywhere anytime soon – the style’s skeletal framework is proving to be a fertile playground for producers intent on making music that’s anything from straightforward, and it’s still sounding like the future. Larger and livelier, it’s a lifestyle indeed.

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