Sibot, as well as being one of South African electronica’s longest serving citizens, has always been one of its most unconventional. It was his unconventional ear for instrumentation that saw him collaborate early on with some of the country’s currently most influential acts like Waddy Jones (Ninja) and Spoek Mathambo. Later in his solo career, this unconventional spirit manifested itself most obviously in his new sci-fi mask-wearing persona and the accompanying visuals created by partner and co-performer Toyota, but most significantly in his eschewing of the rigid genre constructs electronic music is known to perpetuate.
At both a creative and commercial high point in his career – with the Magnet Jam EP released on Diplo’s world-touring Mad Decent label – we heard the MPC-bashing and irreverent rap producer Sibot on the EP’s first track, but by the end of it, we were listening to French-style proto-house. Indeed, everything he’s released since then has also been linked only loosely by the fact that the instrumentation was mostly electronic.
Sibot’s latest release – the L EP also focuses in on the more dance-oriented and house-inspired side of his production with 3 slickly-produced 4/4 bangers. If this seems a little too by-the-book for him at this point in a long career it’s because it is. Unconventionality has even permeated the way Sibot sees album structures, with this L EP being only a small part of a larger body of work called V.L.D.T., which is being released in parts, and will be released in full later in the year.
The story goes that V.L.D.T. as a whole will coalesce all of the various elements of Sibot’s production styles into short bursts of genre specific tracks – selections of which will be released as EPs beforehand, as we’ve seen with V and L thus far. It’s a novel concept, and only time will tell if it flies or results in the sort of focus-group compiled album style we saw in rap of the mid 2000’s (with one club song, one song “for the ladies”, one street song and so on).
Regardless, though, the L EP stands well on its own so far.
The first two tracks, ‘Please’ and ‘Grandboy Metadog’ stand out. Their percussive work pushes hard for their entry into the contemporary South African house lexicon, and hints of the sound collage aesthetic that has been applied here reminds one of acts like Felix Laband and the Wet Dreamz Records crew. Sibot’s own synth work is more pared down than at his most eccentric, but this suits the mood of the three ditties much more – the focus here is on mood and bounce.
How the tracks fall into the bigger narrative that the album will tell will be fascinating to see in the end. The first EP of the series gave us mainly rap based productions labelled as tracks 1, 7 and 13 of the larger album. The L EP bring us tracks 3, 5 and 9, hinting that their presentation as a continuous 3 piece succession of house tracks here won’t be replicated on the album, unsurprisingly. That would have been far too neat and predictable.
Stream L on Sibot’s Soundcloud now and let us know what you think in the comments…