Released last week through Sónar Festival’s Soundcloud, ‘If You Want To’ marks the first original track from experimental electronic wizards Christian Tiger School in about two years. There have been a few mixes and remixes following 2015’s ‘Damn January’, including ‘Cinderella Rocafella’ and ‘Chorisolo’ – all released via New York-based hip-hop and electronic label Tommy Boy – but ‘If You Want To’ finds the ever-evolving duo back in the swing of it, just short of a month ahead of their performance at Sónar 2017 in Barcelona on June 15th.
The Cape Town-based duo is the meeting of two minds, Sebastiano Zanasi and Luc Veermeer, who have been a consistent reference point for South African electronic music ever since their 2012 debut album, Third Floor, captured hearts with its South African-ised take on the swanky, dreamy LA beat scene. They have since significantly drawn their sound out – tirelessly blurring the lines between house, techno, instrumental hip-hop and experimental electronics – to much aplomb and wide acclaim.
Having both been chosen to attend the esteemed annual Red Mull Music Academy in their solo capacities (Zanasi in 2015 and Veermeer in 2016), as well as their involvement in various other musical projects – such as techno duo Hessien+ for Zanasi, label/collective Quit Safari for both of them, and monthly Cape Town beat battle Button Bashers for Veermeer – CTS return with a track that takes an ambiguous step forward in terms of their sound.
The foundation of ‘If You Want To’ is a simultaneously gripping but unassuming bass line which loops throughout the track. It’s coupled with a densely textured and nimble beat, and together they set a platform for the launch of light but moody synths which float above the track, intertwining – each interaction sparking intrigue. The track guides us through a 7:50 cosmic voyage and fades out with wisps of texture and faint samples, weaving in and out of the mix.
Without a fuller body of work for context, it’s difficult to say if ‘If You Want To’ marks a definitive step towards a newer sound, but it certainly speaks to a maturation and exciting harnessing of finesse. We wish them well for their upcoming European escapades and look forward to the next edition of the exploration of their sound.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Barcelona this year, be sure to pick up tickets for Sónar, which you can purchase here. In the mean time check out their fantastic video for Tommy Boy-released April 2015 track ‘Chorisolo’: