The ghetto romance of gqom

The flavourful sound of local music genre gqom has found an unlikely champion in British DJ Jumping Back Slash.

You wouldn’t expect a British DJ to be one of the biggest advocates for gqom, a flavourful mix of sounds synthesising house and South African kwaito with western approaches to techno and dance. But Jumping Back Slash (real name Gareth Jones), who performs at Design Indaba Music 2015, has made a name for himself on the local scene for his own spin on the dynamic genre.

Gqom originated as a simple, bass-driven haven for the young, township-bound music lovers of Durban who hustle their ways to bootlegged versions of FL Studio, mixing software in order to put their gems together. The undiluted way in which this music is made is something astounding to note – which is why Jumping Back Slash (JBS) felt strongly about putting the work of these youngsters on the map for the rest of us to experience.

Taking this “future sound of Mzansi” music from mainstream dancefloors in South Africa to his sometimes-home of London, JBS started out with his first release in 2011 entitled “Kwaai Sneakers”. He has since gone on to produce many a work that portrays his affinity for South African culture, such as The Uhambo Mixtape and The Namhlanje EP, to name a few.

His latest free-for-download offering is dubbed “NITEGARDENZ”– an elevating, primordial look into the ghetto romance of gqom. It captures a feeling that transcends culture and place and appeals to something we all chase when we head toward a dancefloor: a desire to move and be moved. Two minutes and 56 seconds of reverberating, warming blips and blobs of sound accompany the staccato tap-tapping in a captivating and well-sculpted work of sonic art.