buy and listen to the new album here
Formed in 1982, the Kalahari Surfers was essentially a string of studio projects realised by Warrick Sony at Shifty Studios during the 80’s. These involved various personel from that environment whose names were altered or simply reduced to first names to safeguard against security dirty tricks persecution.The band itself was a fictional collective designed to dodge any flak that may have appeared from these forces. The first release was inspired by the do-it-yourself punk ethic and was a cassette packaged in a silver spray painted box containing 60 minutes of music all recorded in a bedroom on a 4 track Portastudio. It was titled ‘Gross National Product’.
Material was made up of early tape experiments, audio collage , songs , cyclic trance tracks accompanied by free verse and looping bass/drum ideas. The Surfers second release was a double single package released on the Pure Freude label in Germany and consisted of 4 sides of heavy dub influenced songs. German group CAN were involved with this label and were an important influence on the Surfers sound at this time. Some of the Canterbury music scene bands in England were influential on the surfers sound but mostly the work of Robert Wyatt and Henry Cow. Weirdly these artists were the Surfers introduction to the South African exile jazz sound of Mongezi Feza , Dudu Pukwana and Johnny Dyani which also inspired them. Dudu played with Henry Cow at one point.
In 1984 the first full album ‘Own Affairs’ was completed at Shifty Studios and taken to EMI to press. On the grounds that it was too politically sensitive EMI refused to press it thereby censoring the work before it was made. Radical far left British label Recommended Records pressed it and set up an alliance that continues to this day. Chris Cutler from RecRec helped set up tours and the Surfers rode forward with confidence. In 1985 they put out ‘Living In The Heart Of The Beast’ to critical acclaim. title from a Tim Hodgkinson composition on the Henry Cow album “In Praise Of Learning”
The mixture of dub rhythms and hard punk social comment made it a unique South African album which pushed the barriers of local independent music. Musical styles ranged from the avant garde to straight rock. Quite Zappa-ish in places with the use of tape splice edits and juxtaposing diverse styles the album was a South African veiwpoint that provided some relief for those who didn’t like the Johnny Clegg-CatStevensgoeszulu sound. Like many other Shifty Records albums it inspired many younger artists who are still working today. The need to tour was evident and Warrick moved to London to work on promoting the album. He toured with Chris Cutler and other friends from England. A third album ‘Sleep Armed’ was completed before leaving and released in 1986.The Kalahari Surfers were seen as far afield as Holland, Germany, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Moscow, Lenningrad, Riga, East Berlin and London.
Back in South Africa during the late 80s the album ‘Bigger than Jesus’ (title from the famous John Lennon quote ) was recorded and released locally and officially banned for distribution and possession . After an appeal to the publications control board the ban was lifted and set a legal precedent.
The early 90’s saw a collaboration with Sowetan rebel poet Lesego Rampolokeng resulting in the album ‘End Beginnings’. Which took them on a tour of Brazil and France during the mid 90s. This was also released in London through REcRec. Lesego is the most powerful black voice to emerge from the 80s with his brain intact. A product of the lost generation who suffered detentions and beatings from our country’s notorious security forces. He is a rarity and fittingly teamed up with fellow nomads in the South African cultural wasteland.
Kalahari Surfers took the Shifty Studio to Cape Town after a violent highjack made the move essential and developed a new project with fellow Durbanite , ex Urban Creep front man, Brendan Jury working under the name TranSky.They spent a few years doing sound design, film music and various collaborative projects as well as an album “Killing Time” and a tour opening for Massive Attack’s South African tour in October 1998. A project with ex ORB members Greg Hunter and Kris Weston is was begun towards the turn of the millenium and the Surfers joined up with Milestone Studios where
Warrick has been busy working since. He hosted Brian Eno’s workshop in Cape Town for CAMA and released five Kalahari Surfers albums through African Dope and Microdot Records.He has been involved in various art and music and DJ events in the city, including Faultlines, Soft Serve, Vortex, and Mother City Queer Party.The Surfers played Wiesen Festival in 2005 in Austria
and Composed and performed material for the opening of “Turbulence” with Dizu PLaatjies at the South African art Exhibition in Salzburg – Red Bull Hangar 7 event. March 2007
As a specialist sound designer he has worked on feature films like the Mangler, directed by Tobe Hooper.  (POLTERGEIST, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE) , SMS Sugar Man dir Aryan Kaganof,the Shadowed Mind dir Cedric Sundstrom  and multi media theatre productions such as William Kentridge’s Ubu and the Truth Commission , Faustus in Africa and Handspring Puppet‘s “Tall Horse” and “The Chimp Project” , Akin Omotoso’s “Jesus and the Giant”, Aryan Kaganof’s “SMS Sugarman” as well as Museum installations like the San Rock Art Museum and contributions for the Dada South exhibition at the Cape Town National Gallery. In 2007 he co- arranged material for “The Triptic” a CD Polish metal band “Sweetnoise” working closely with Piotr “Glaca” Mohamed
He has been invited as a guest lecturer to Rhodes University in South Africa, running post-graduate masters classes in audio post-production and sound design and was invited to present a performance for Unyazi: International Electronic Music Symposium at Wits University Johannesburg as well as the Unyasi 2008 “Fear of the Unknown”. He performed with Victor Gama and Dizu Plaatjies in “Makakata Musique” and “Turn to Traveller” at Grahamstown National Arts Festival July 2009. and contributed sound design to a number of Baxter Theatre productions including “Cissie” directed by Nadia Davids, Sister Breyani directed by Lara Bye and “I am my-own wife” directed by Janice Honeyman A 2010 Kalahari Surfers album: “One Party State ” has been released through MicrodotRecords material of which was toured with the African Soul Rebels tour of UK 2010 alongside Oumou Sangaré & Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou organized by Music Beyond Mainstream. He recently composed music for the feature film “Jozi” a comedy directed by Craig Fremont produced by Thom Pictures [http://www.jozi-movie.co.za/ ]
“Being a white English South African means being schizophrenic. It means not having a firm foot in any culture, but also it means being priviledged to be exposed to many wildly diverse aspects of social life. A tapestry of influences.”
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new album ” One Party State” with full cover booklet and other bits n pieces from: - http://www.kalaharisurfers.co.za
and back catalogue downloads available from :
Edited by wrexony on 19 Oct 2010, 18:43
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