Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Die Antwoord - Ten$ion


It's been three years since the world witnessed the rise of Die Antwoord. In a world of 'next level beat's' and Pink Floyd boxers, lead member Watkin Tudor Jones (or as he's commonly known Ninja) lays down a gritty but clean rap over a dirty and euro dance-esque beat. They managed to receive countless plugs and several articles written in Pitchfork, NME and just about every other hype generator you may care to read. This album is the second release and has the same line-up as the energetic debut back in 2009, $o$.

'Never Le Nkemise 1' has a dubstep like beat and the bass is perfect with the synthetic computerised trance sounds. Ninja's vocal sounds strong and he sounds like a cultural and more intelligent Eminem. I adore the simplistic beat and it completely introduces the listener to the Hip-Hop/Dance mix the group have going on. The second track, I Fink U Freeky, continues the dirt and trance sounds. That rave feel is just ever present in Die Antwoord's sound. This track has the Yo-Landi giving her twee vocal with pure clear cut production. Ninja comes in and delivers an energetic rap before Yo-Landi continues with the refrain. I enjoy this song and the general feel is just open and easily accessible. Show it to your boss, your kids and the president.

The fourth track is called 'Hey Sexy' and it takes a sample from a Delia Derbyshire track called 'Ziwzih Ziwzih 00-00-00'. On the first listen, I completely 'WTF'd. Delia being one of my favourite Electronic composers, it was incredibly fresh and interesting to hear her instrumental being used by Die Antwoord. People may not notice the sample at first, but those with an Electronic background will hear it instantly. The beat is traditional Hip-Hop with Ninja's vocals heavily layered and 90's styled. Yo-Landi then gives her all on her part which again sounds incredibly compact.

'Fatty Boom Boom' uses a simple riff looped with excellent clap sounds and tribal-esque percussion. The vocal is exciting and sounds perfect with both Yo-Landi and Ninja giving vocals at separate and interlocking regions. The chorus is sung by Yo-Landi and her high pitched vocals able her to give full control of the structure. She sounds like the South African M.I.A and I completely respect her for this track. The track has an excellent beat and continues for three minutes before the vocal ending.

The piano interlude on 'So What?' starts rhythmic with a Dre. Dre styled beat and bass. Yo-Landi gives her all yet again and Ninja's voice sounds far more British and chavy. The beat is funky and the track just flows well. Nothing really takes off and the track just stays steady with a lack of dynamics. 'Baby's On Fire' is hard hitting and sounds like a UK Top40 single from the 90's. the track again doesn't really grab my attention. Die Antwoord fall into that trap of accessibility, where even though the progressions and style is completely different to a lot of stiff out there, this music is actually really open.

'U Make A Ninja Wanna Fuck' is incredibly comical. The trane synths work with the hard hitting bass and simplistic beat. The left sided synth line is something to focus on ad Ninja delivers a very fast vocal of swear words and sex focused lyrics. Yo-Landi giver her vocal on the last third very quietly before a little segue of I Think We're Alone Now, a song written by Ritchie Cordell. The track eventually grows in volume with Yo-Landi's refrain and Ninja's constant repeating of the songs title. 

Hauntingly twinkly strings fade in as the eleventh track 'Fok Julle Naaiers' enters. Yo-Landi takes full control of the vocal as her childish vocal fits perfectly over the glitchy beat. Ninja enters shortly after with perfect lyrics like, "Ninja becomes a devil", "Fuck you, and your whole crew!". DJ Hi-Tek gives a great instrumental on this track and it's the official single from the album. I have to admit, the compact sound is refreshing to hear amongst certain songs of this rave nature.

'DJ Hi-Tek Rulez' then goes into a retro beat with Hi-Tek giving very specific lyrics. DJ Hi-Tek is infact gay and he raps about faggots and "fuck you to you love me" style lyrics. Yo-Landi then counts out with a short vocal segment before the final track, 'Never Le Nkemise 2' enters with a synthetic instrumental and political lyrics. The rave beat is fantastic sounding and needs to be played loud. It's purely a track showing DJ Hi-Tek's advanced next level beats. The track flows with great venom as vocal segments make there way in towards the final minute. 

So three years since that debut album was released for free on the Internet, the South African trio haven't exactly advanced. I do however believe this is far stringer than their debut. This is much more refreshing and the bears are far heavier and grittier than those from $o$. The production sounds great and we will see good things from Die Antwoord this year.
~Eddie

7.4

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