- It's almost too good of a story: Culolethu Zulu leaves South Africa for the first time at the age of 18 to visit a high-powered summer camp for burgeoning producers and comes back with a record deal from Innervisions in hand. Now. That's probably not exactly how it happened, but it comes close enough to the truth: Culoe De Song had enough talent and experience to entice the Red Bull Music Academy to pluck him out of Durban, South Africa. He probably already had sketches of "The Bright Forest" already completed, and simply needed the polish of an expensive recording studio to help push it to the next level.
Whatever the case, Culoe's debut 12-inch is quite a calling card: A statement of purpose that announces a bright, super African talent to the world. "The Bright Forest" is the one that caps his recent RA podcast, a driving number that borrows the same primal scream from Ferrer & Sydenham Inc.'s "Timbuktu," adds a patient piano and strings that swell and swell and swell. It's an epic, pure and simple, and it's destined to soundtrack the end of a night near you very soon.
The secret weapon on this 12-inch is "African Subway" which is a ferocious percussion workout. I've already had the good fortune to see this played out, and—in the right hands—it works like a charm. Its title says it all: It's tribal, it's driving and it features the same sort of piano that only appears to mark time while other elements—namely the very melodic percussion flourishes—do the work.
"Super Afro," a digital exclusive splits the difference between the two and comes out the least engaging of the trio. It's a fine little track and will undoubtedly work in the warm-up hours, but it neither burns with intensity or simmers with melancholy. The vinyl does nothing but. An amazing debut.
A The Bright Forest
B African Subway
Digital: Super Afro