'Lab Series 2': Awesome new Soundcloud compilation features SA electronica

SA talented producers have been included in a 17-artist compilation by Sleepwalker Records

20 October 2017 - 14:44 By Bob Perfect
Rose Bonica features on 'Lab Series 2'.
Rose Bonica features on 'Lab Series 2'.
Image: Bubblegumclub

Premium streaming services like Deezer, Apple Music and Spotify are the way many music fans consume music, but I still get most of my new music from Soundcloud.

Granted, I was still making mix-tapes for my Walkman when friends were bumping to Bump on their Discmans, so it's not like I've been at the forefront of early adoption. Still, I'm a sucker for a free download and, over the years, I've followed a lot of solid musicians who often put out or share good music.

In this age of automated curation, your "personal" taste becomes a numbers game. With Soundcloud, you're at the mercy of the tastes of those you choose to follow.

Thankfully, I follow people with taste, which is how I found Sleepwalker Records' Lab Series 2 compilation. This eclectic collection of current South African electronica came up in my feed three times before I clicked play.

I've found that variations of techno and house are the perfect companion to wandering thoughts, though a few of the tracks could be the soundtrack of a night on the jol.

Sleepwalker Records has been around for a decade. Jimmy Chronic (James Cell) started the label in 2007. It went dormant for a while, but was brought back to life last year with Lab Series 1 and I've heard they're taking things a step further by opening up a physical record store.

Judging by both compilations, it's a good move. The current crop of South African experimental electronica producers don't lack talent, but finding meaningful spaces to showcase that work is a struggle.

Lab Series 2 features noteworthy up-and-comers and stalwarts of the scene, all deftly mixed together.

LISTEN | Lab series 2 is on Soundcloud

Jimmy Chronic himself opens things up with I Just Can't Deal. Vox Portent brings the thump with Take 5. Rose Bonica takes us on a layered journey that revisits the same hook with It's a Whale of a Time. Even Women Who Kill found time to bless us with his tasty house styling on Fleas Hitchin' Rides on Bees while teaching in South Korea. But it's Parabyl's Whiplash that stands out. It's the perfect mix of morose and groovy.

Each of these artists is talented in their own right, but when grouped together we get a snapshot of some of the incredible sounds being made by South Africans at the moment.

By having 17 artists on a compilation, each artist can introduce their audience to other musicians they might vibe with, which increases everyone's potential reach. Small independent labels have a big role to play, especially with releases like Lab Series 2. -