Art and music always seem to punctuate time, they are the leading lines to history and understanding the narrative of where you come from. Essentially, making art in any shape or form is an act of selflessness. Most artists often find themselves trapped within the confines of making music for themselves. This leads to a lack of resonance within their sounds. Artists will often search for references and sounds further away from home, thus subconsciously constructing a disconnect with their immediate audience.
Muzi – a South African alternative act who by now needs very little introduction due to his rising popularity within his native country and the rest of the world. He understands the importance of referencing home within his music no matter where he is in the world. Whether he records A Day In Paris while in Paris, you can hear the deep-rooted robust nature of where he comes from. It’s a thing of the soul. The key to this is that Muzi understands that he makes music for home to export to the world. In a recent interview with theBelvedere Temple, he expresses how important it is for him to make African influenced music because he is African. He bridges the gap of a possible lack of resonance by purely representing where he comes from.
On Mncane, he links up with Samthing Soweto and the singer simply references Brown Dash’s M’gezeni which is a perfect example of using home as a reference point to create your art. Mncane fits in perfectly with the landscape of Zeno. The album is named after his daughter Zenokuhle. It is meant to serve as a time capsule to indicate to her where he was in that moment in time. Muzi has certainly developed a lot since Afrovision and now seems to be aware of his position and his role. He is conscious of what he has to do musically to achieve a certain reaction from his audience. You just can’t help but feel like Untitled 45 is a rendition of the ever so popular Zulu Skywalker off his sophomore effort and this isn’t by accident but being self-aware.
You do find him on Sunshine expressing himself in a way that is slightly different. He opens up about the robbery that took place in his home, with lines like “they didn’t end my life but it feels like I died that night” you begin to feel how surreal of a moment that was for him. Sondela is also a great moment on Zeno from a production standpoint and through his delivery. The more you listen, you can pick up that he has grown in confidence when it comes to being the star on his own production. His eyes are open to his achievements as he subtly flaunts his European travels “passport full that’s a big stamp” on Sondela. He has certainly stamped his name all across Europe, receiving plaudits from the likes of Chris Martin, his growth and progress is like a wildfire. He has already surpassed his nascent phase and seems in control.
Overall, Zeno as an album works, it’s short, concise and it makes sense. It isn’t a lot to dissect like its predecessor, from the first official single Good Vibes Only, you already have an idea of what to expect from the project. As feel-good music, it ticks all the boxes, it presents a good mood throughout and it’s still smeared with culture. It sounds a lot more marketable as a product when it comes to South African radio – if that’s even a barometer to go by. Muzi has certainly picked up where he initially left off with Afrovision, even though Stimela Segolide was a bit of a weird moment he has managed to refine his product and still stick to his true narrative to give you Zeno.