Felix Laband is probably South Africa's most prolific and successful electronic music artist. Of course this is not saying much in a genre that manages a ceiling of around 2000 local sales per album. But Felix has got a plan

'I want to do some crazy, fucked up, Mr Oizio style kwaito thing. It's always been a dream of mine to do a kwaito track that gets played in all the taxis. To me that's doing something really cool in this country.'

This all makes sense considering that kwaito albums can move up to 300 000 units, and are a generally considered a far more relevant and popular form of expression than electronic music. 'The kwaito sound is like a mix between four on the floor and a reggae upstroke thing.' Explains Felix thoughtfully.

In 1999 Mr Laband released his debut album Thin Shoes in June , through the seminal African Dope record label, South Africa's first electronic music label. It sounded like Kid Loco on a jungle safari in apartheid South Africa.

'Because South Africa is so isolated, I was able to use my imagination a bit more and make something that is not so genre specific.' Says Felix.

The next album 4/4 Down The Stairs was the kicker. An insane, swirling, ambient dub, glitsch hop freak show. It's hard to compare 4/4 to anything. It is just a masterpiece of South African electro.

'Ja with 4/4 I had learnt a lot more about electronic production... I pay quite a lot attention to putting things in a weird context. I like to arrange things that wouldn't normally go together, to create something new.'

In many ways this process reflects the South African culture of recycling and making new meanings out of old and discarded detritus. Like pitting two diametrically opposed things together and creating something new out of the ensuing juxtaposition and negotiation. Things like Europe and Africa, squatter camps and suburbs, crime and freedom, meat and potatoes.

'That South Africa is a land of weird contrasts definitely comes through in the music. I'm not shy to throw things around. A lot of European stuff is quite formulaic, people stick to a certain sound and a specific way of doing things. I try and throw that out the window.

*If you like Felix Laband, check Marcus Wormstorm, The Kalahari Surfers, Benguela, Max Normal, Constructus, Moodphase5ive, African Dope Sound System and many others. Limited availability on Amazon.com, also try Kalahari.net and Africandope.co.za

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