Culture has always played a boundless role in the context of influencing any form of art. It births a strong creative direction and keeps the connection between the artist and where they come from, strong. At the same time it also grabs foreign interest because of the rareness and authenticity it presents. No one understands this better than Muzi – a voyager in the music sense. Sharing his kaleidoscope-esque music at festivals such as Bestival in the UK. Playing sets at OHM, Schwuz, Musik & Friedan and Monarch, all in Berlin, Germany. Often in South Africa, a sound that best represents the culture or is inspired by the culture is overlooked. These artist are accepted in Europe and the rest of the world, before they’re even considered for radio play in South Africa. Classic examples being Petite Noir, OKMALUMKOOLKAT, Robin Thirdfloor and Spoek Mathambo. That’s the space where you find Muzi in.
Afrovision – his second album already but for many, it will feel like his first. For those that have given his previous work an ear, the follow up to the intergalactic and dreamy Boom Shaka has been long awaited. His sophomore effort, a silky dance album packed with majestic production, the soundscape is loose but at the same time it’s equipped with shape and direction. It sounds like an audio book narrating the journey of a boy from Empangeni, that’s gone to see the rest of the world, just by making the music that best represents him. Songs like Chocolate Dreams with Una Rams and Saint Seaba, perfectly pin points this. A mosaic of culture, that begins to form an “Afrovision”.
Through his songwriting and production, he manages to navigate his perspective. Writing his music in a mixture of his native language Zulu and English,“ngithathe ungibeke lapha engifuna ukuya khona” he sings on the adventurous Daylight. Regardless of this, the music doesn’t lose any meaning or derive from the main idea, instead it falls seamlessly into the vision. One of the most obvious lyrical references are found on Boss Mode, where he uses The Lion King as the main idea. It blends in perfectly with the tale of Afrovision. You find him on Kini exploring the simple concept of home, which is so akin to Ekhaya off his debut offering. While songs like Channel Blak seem like an infinite wander through a time but present an unknown nostalgia.
The deeper you dive into Afrovision, the more episodic and compact it sounds, but also seems like a bottomless whirlpool of creativity. The lush interlude-esque of Zulu Skywalker is like a pavement to space travel. The Zulu’s in space concept is revisited on Bantu Space Odyssey, a cosmic crescendo, that seems like a timeless journey through outer space. His love for home and where he comes from is so evident. On Sunset KwaZulu he is consistent at representing his culture and people.
Afrovision sounds like his breakout album in the South African audience, especially in the commercial sense. Unlike Boom Shaka, this time Muzi has guests on his latest efforts. Appearances from OKMALUMKOOLKAT, Langa Mavuso, Una Rams, Tiro and a few more. It’s symbolic to Muzi’s comfort, letting people into his discography and sharing his space to create Afrovision. Muzi’s album is an ode to his people and culture, it’s like an art piece that will hang in an art gallery and confuse plenty but it will always hold a pivotal light in representing where he is from.