Amidst all this critical praise the essence of BLK JKS' music—a collision of township blues, fringe jazz and renegade dub, heard via the lens of prog—shines through. Music from Africa has never sounded like this, as BLK JKS bring the concept of afro-futurism into a new century.
After Robots was recorded January in Bloomington, IN as BLK JKS traded a South African summer for winter in America and burrowed in for marathon recording sessions of one live take after the next. Brandon Curtis of Secret Machines returned to join the band at the controls and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble appears on several tracks with the swagger of aggressive horn stabs, but throughout After Robots is an original BLK JKS affair—a distinctly South African vision of rock's global travel and the possibility of what it can sound like from here on out.
BLK JKS first came to the U.S. in the spring of 2008 after a chance meeting with über-producer Diplo while he was on tour in South Africa. The band's appearance on the cover of the Fader, as well as highly acclaimed sets at South by Southwest, sparked recording sessions at New York's famed Electric Lady studios that resulted in the MYSTERY EP. They have gone on to share stages in North America and Europe with a celebrated and disparate array of artists including Femi Kuti, Santigold, Dirty Projectors, Michael Franti and Cody Chesnutt; they have played Sasquatch and Soweto Arts Festival; and drummer Tshepang Ramoba has been celebrated by Billboard as "the best musician" at SXSW.
BLK JKS consists of childhood friends Lindani Buthelezi and Mpumi Mcata who grew up on the same block in Johannesburg's East Rand where they taught themselves guitar. After the band's current lineup took shape with the addition of bassist Molefi Makananise and drummer Tshepang Ramoba, both of Soweto, they embarked on a schedule of heavy touring throughout South Africa that earned them a loyal national following.
The first glimpse of the full length, "Mololatladi," which literally means rainbow in Zulu, is available now as a free mp3.
BLK JKS Tour Dates
June 9 Philadelphia, PA Kungfu Necktie
June 11 Washington, DC The Black Cat