The contemporary music beaming from Accra’s coast and reverberating with the waves of the Atlantic across the world has always been driven by the experimentation. Whilst being rooted in the basic mechanics of the indigenous sound of the city, artists such as DJ Katapila and Nshonna Muzik typified and catalyzed this love for re-engineering electronic sounds to create genre-defying classics. On Gafacci’s latest body of work, he carves a similarly unique groove on this sonorous and shimmering wave of African electronic brilliance.
Tash BNM is a 5 track EP released via Clam Clam on July 12, 2019. The release stands as proof of an exercise in subtle refinements, as the music is some of the slickest and most relaxing from Gafacci and in some ways a polar opposite to his sound signature with Jowaa or any of his previous release. Whilst maintaining the same percussive core but at a slower pace with other low fidelity sound features ,the Ghana-based rhythm professor emphasizes a calmer ambiance highlighted by eerie yet dense atmospheric sounds and low end synthesized bliss.
Indeed, this approach is announced by the title of the opening cut, Afro Lofi, hinting at a sound that is located at the vertex of the serenading fuzzy warmth of lofi music and the dynamic grooves of Asorkpor. However, I sincerely doubt you will be ready for what follows the stuttering white noise texture at the beginning of the song. This gives way to a solemn piano line whose chords form the rhythmic background of the record with various beeps and whistles littering the atmosphere before the kinetic and lightly energize drums punctuate the vocoder like verse. The song goes through various tiny metamorphoses yet establishes the rhythmic patterns that thread and bind the EP.
Although the project leans slightly towards the dance friendly, it is still refreshingly idiosyncratic, creating a feeling of familiarity which listeners can relate to yet at the same time, expanding the sonic palette. Like Water with Amarae is also as euphoric as it is soothing. With a more pronounced drum line, it feels a bit more concrete but is still amplified by swirling low end synths that transport you to this cherry blossom paradise of temperate ambiance, where the atmosphere is psychedelic yet refreshing.
As a body of work Tash BNM is a totem of Gafacci’s dexterity as a producer and his ear for magnificent sound. However, it’s crowning glory comes from its refreshingly textured approach to a lush yet familiar sonic atmosphere. For the 17-minutes in which you engage the project, you are in a world unlike any other you have ever been in. The music is a trip that transports you to syrupy fields of radiant joy by alloying similar yet unassociated sonic elements. Whilst Gafacci makes sure to tip his hat towards the foundation of his signature Asorkpor aesthetic, he makes sure to ensure its growth by introducing this new layer into the zeitgeist, an interrogation of what low fidelity sound is.
Written by Hakeem Adam
Image credit: Valerie Siba, via Artist.