Culoe De Song, The Bright Forest



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The back story to Culolethu Zulu’s debut release reads like a (energy drink sponsored, house music) fairytale. An eighteen year old kid who had previously never traveled outside his native South Africa, Culoe rocked up to the Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona with a bunch of his Afrobeat-infused deep house tracks, blew the competition away and returned home with a contract with one of Germany’s premier house labels.

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“The Bright Forest” is the first fruit from this agreement, and introduces Culoe as another frighteningly young newcomer in a year that the likes of Wbeeza and Kyle Hall have already taken by storm. The youth of Culoe is never more evident than on the title track, which combines moody keys with percolating African percussion and a rising string section that harks back to the Detroit vibes of Keith Worthy or Mike Grant. It’s a very accomplished piece that will bring a wonderful sense of light and renewed energy to any dance floor, but somehow it’s too self-consciously epic, maybe a touch forced in its grandiosity. It feels as if the vaulting ambition and wide-eyed wonder of teenage years has overridden the restraint and tension which might have made this the instant classic it has been hailed as in some quarters. “African Subway” is a more heads-down track, riding similar simmering polyrhythms and a neat Steve Reich-a-like organ loop. “The Bright Forest” and his forthcoming remix of Reggie Dokes reveal Culoe to be a youngster of enormous potential. Hopefully, the good advice and guidance of the Innervisions crew will result in him maturing to achieve the heights hinted at here.

hutlock  on May 12, 2009 at 8:50 AM

1) I think this track is growing on me. I didn’t think much of it when I first played it, but now the vibes are seeping through a bit more. A real “grower” then (pun intended)

2) GREAT picture today.

hutlock  on May 12, 2009 at 8:51 AM

(sorry, by “track” I meant “Bright Forest” — “African Subway” has always been awesome to me!)

cb  on May 12, 2009 at 11:54 AM

those indian chants are starting to annoy me,
the track would be much more up my alley without

captain you  on May 12, 2009 at 12:16 PM

the orchestral bit is supercheap
it’s a pity because the first two minutes are mesmerizing
saying that, thanks god for ableton and the loops!

kuri  on May 13, 2009 at 1:51 PM

“but somehow it’s too self-consciously epic, maybe a touch forced in its grandiosity” – well said. in terms of those orchestra strings seems like Culoe is taking the track into an area of musicality that he’s not quite ready to enter into yet. i’ve heard some great use of strings in tracks (the UR remix of Raiders of the Lost Arp’s “Darkness” spring to mind) but typically from seasoned musicians.

m@earth  on May 14, 2009 at 1:01 AM

I love first records. This is no exception. It tries more on than it should and it wears it all pretty well, even if it is a bit of a mess musically and doesn’t have the right bits right. A few lessons and some time in the studio with the right influence and people and we’re looking at someone to follow closely. I certainly hope the bright lights and fancy times that are sure to come don’t diminish the potential hiding out in the open right now.

Mcfee phephetheni  on October 9, 2009 at 12:14 AM

I first heard this track from a friend of mine mojalifa tsotetsi as a clip,telin me da boy is from durban,but i didnt pay attention,now the track is one my favaret track for this year,the kid is gud,the germans must take care of this kid,he’s our own pride,mzansi 4eva

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