A1 Bantu Education
A3 Mangaliso Sobukwe
A4 Solomon, Tsietsi & Khotso
A5 The Black Consciousness Movement
B1 Banna Ba Batsumi
B3 Xolile Mosi
B4 We Got A Lot A Work To Do
In South Africa, 16 June 1976 is unanimously recognised as the definitive turning point in the tenor and intensity of the fight against apartheid. It comes as the internal capacity of the major liberation movements such as the African National Congress and the Pan Africanist Congress is nearly depleted; with many of its leaders in jail or in exile. Black Consciousness (BC) arises from these ashes and the apartheid regime scrambles to contain it in the form of assassinations, banning orders and trials. High school youths in Soweto, having already imbibed BC from their teachers (a group of newly-recruited university radicals), begin planning protests that would attain an incredible kinetic thrust. These demonstrations were supposedly to rally against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, but as student leader Tsietsi Mashinini says in the documentary film UPRIZE!, the situation in South Africa had been explosive for a long time and any issue could have delivered the shift in momentum that June 16 would symbolise.
This new SPAZA release is the original motion picture soundtrack of the film UPRIZE!, but it serves a parallel function. Recorded in Yeoville, Johannesburg, during a three-day improvised scoring workshop in 2016, the recording is almost the underside of the film, which strikes a defiant pose both in the selection of speakers and in the tone of much of the archival footage. The June 16 protests stretched over several weeks in a countrywide blaze that turned out to be a sustained show of solidarity among students and an unbridled display of brutality by the state. The recording process mirrors that protraction, working out a new language with which to commemorate the death, darkness and defiance of those days.
“The trombone, violin, and electronically warped vocals resemble futuristic R&B one moment, Sun Ra at his most spacebound the next” - Best Experimental Albums of 2019 on Pitchfork
“SPAZA defied all categorization and fearlessly explored a rarefied new space” - The Best Albums of 2019 on Bandcamp
“Their cyclical patterns may call to mind the steady tread of an evening walk in the woods, the comforts of nature and the danger of darkness closing in around you” - New York Times Playlist
“A spellbinding mix of spiritual jazz and New Age that pays homage to black South African culture” - Album of the day Bandcamp
“It’s incantatory music – militant, luminous and fresh” - The Wire Magazine
“South African experimentalists SPAZA sound equal parts incantation and cosmic message, with shades of Arthur Russell in their rolling congas and staccato strings. A trip, for sure” - The Quietus