SF05 // XOLISO - Shingwanyana

Hen’s tooth Afrocentric psych outlier from 1974 via the northeast fringe of Pretoria, South Africa. Building on the influence of acclaimed avant-gardists Malombo, Xoliso pushed Mamelodi's nascent Afro-Jazz sound into the domain of Electric Tribal Rock and laced it with vocal chants, brittle fuzz, trippy flute and organ psychedelics. File between Assegai and Batsumi and in reach of the Beaters and Kabasa. Fully licensed 2019 vinyl reissue sees the album back in print for the first time in 45 years. Carefully restored from analog master tapes with beautifully reproduced original artwork.

Composed & Performed by Xoliso (Peace Makers)
Vocals & Percussion - Abraham Tjatja Boikanyo
Flute - Alpheus Koloti
Bass - Gilbert Mathopa
Lead Guitar - Percy Monare
Drums - Johnny Motuba
Keyboard - Abel Bobby Nkambule
Produced by C.B. Matiwane
Reissue Partners: Tjatja (RIP), Alpheus & Bobby
Special Thanks: Chris Albertyn, Vusi Hlatywayo & Jason Connoy
Original Release 1974 // Reissue 2019 // 485 Vinyl LP

SF04 // TATA - It's A Mess (Maxi Single)

Behold the sizzling South African boogie sound of Tata Sibeko. A killer producer, arranger and bass wizard, Tata channelled the gloomy current affairs landscape of 1985 into this glimmering Afro-synth gem. As South African pop embraced 1980s synth culture, maxi-singles on 12-inch vinyl became the new canvas of expression with wider grooves for fat beats and extended mixes that suited dancefloors. Former Kabasa frontman Tata Sibeko dropped “It’s A Mess” in 1985, cutting Cold War political tension with dramatic synths, a seductive bass groove and an appeal to “learn to love each other” and “save ourselves from catastrophe.”

On the flip, “Afro Breakdance” sees Tata cook up a singular, stylish Afro-global hybrid in the tradition of “Afro Funkin’” from Kabasa’s self-titled debut in 1980. Tata Sibeko (RIP) licensed and approved the restoration and reissue of this single. He passed away in 2017 and this release is dedicated to his kindness, charm and creative zeal.

Produced by Tata "TNT" Sibeko & Graham Handley
Remastered by Dan Elleson
Original Release 1985 // Reissue 2019 // 45RPM Vinyl 12" Maxi

SF03 // KABASA - S-T

While the landscape of popular music recordings from 1970s South Africa is dominated by tightly produced nuggets of township soul and jive, there is a notable seam of Afrocentric outsiders that runs through the decade. Their roots lie in Malombo’s angular juxtaposition of guitar and percussion, an avant-garde channeling of raw African soul that announced the arrival of tribal jazz.

Taking the mantle in 1974, Xoliso expanded and electrified the Malombo sound and brought it into the domain of ethnic rock. As the decade wore on, Harari translated Xoliso’s fire into an evocative performance art with less terrestrial grit but more cosmic swing to suit the tastes of the disco era. Former Harari collaborators, Oupa Segwai and Doc Mthalane later collided with bass wizard Tata Sibeko at the start of the 80s to form the core of Kabasa.

Straddling two decades, Kabasa carved a niche at the intersection of Afro-rock and funky disco jive with a trio of outstanding releases during their brief trajectory from 1980 to 1982. Their first offering was an evocation of ancestral spirit and a call for cultural unity wrapped in the infectious veneer of boisterous bass pops, thick power chords and dreamy Roland synthesizers. The album channelled the great musical movements of the decade that preceded it and opened the door to the bubblegum era that followed.

Kabasa’s self-titled debut album marks a beginning for SHARP-FLAT archival reissue releases. Special thanks to production partners and creative collaborators Tata Sibeko (RIP), Oupa Segwai, Jason Connoy (Strawberry Rain Music) and Rouleaux van der Merwe (Permanent Record).

Bass Guitar & Vocals - Tata Sibeko
Lead Guitar & Vocals - Robert Doc Mthalane
Percussion & Vocals - Oupa Segwai
Keyboards & Vocals - Madoda Malothane
Drums & Vocals -  Johnny Mothuba
Produced by Nunka Mkhalipe
Engineer: Graham "Gramaphone" Handley
Recorded at Satbel Studios (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Original Release 1980 // Reissue 2017 // 500 Vinyl LP

SF02 // HILTON SCHILDER - Rukma Vimana

Rukma Vimana is a triangular jazz constellation from Cape Town featuring Hilton Schilder on piano, Eldred Schilder on bass and Claude Cozens on drums.

Composer | Piano | Bow | Vocals | Melodica - Hilton Schilder
Bass - Eldred Schilder
Drums - Claude Cozens
Recorded by Paris Zannos at Paris Studios in March 2015
Mixed by Richard Vossgatter at Phonographic
Mastered by Dave Waugh at The Music Works
Produced by Calum MacNaughton
Released December 2016 // CD
Buy Digital Album on Bandcamp


In 2010, Hilton Schilder won a battle against cancer but lost a kidney in the process. While in hospital, he heard what would become his signature long-form piano composition “Rebirth” during a lucid dream. Waking up bedridden and without access to an instrument, he memorised what he could recall of the piece by moving his fingers over an imaginary keyboard on the ceiling. "Rebirth" is a spiritual masterwork by a seasoned musician at the height of his powers - a sonic journey of sweeping light and shade that is both personal and universal in the depths it traverses.

The track was issued over two sides of a vinyl 7-inch single in a picture sleeve featuring a pair of Hilton Schilder’s hallucinatory ink drawings. "Rebirth" appears on this eponymous solo piano album, which includes two works from an ever-growing song-cycle dedicated to Schilder's wife Tesna. "Birsigstrasse 90" was composed at the song's namesake address in Basel (Switzerland) and is dedicated to Veit Arlt and Katrin Kusmierz. "The Art of Flying" is inspired by the Rukma Vimana (a mythological flying palace described in ancient Hindu texts) and is dedicated to Jai Reddy and Hermeto Pascoal.

Composer | Piano | Bow - Hilton Schilder
Recorded by Murray Anderson at Milestone Studios on 4 July 2014
Mixed & Mastered by Richard Vossgatter at Phonographic
Produced by Calum MacNaughton
Released April 2015 // 300 Vinyl 7" Single // CD
Buy Digital Album on Bandcamp


“I’m totally into music as a composer. It’s my whole life. It’s my philosophy. It’s my religion. I started composing very young and the compositions have grown until now. Actually, it’s all just one long composition.” - Hilton Schilder

It’s the opening sequence of the 2011 Cape Town music documentary Mama Goema. A camera glides through the streets of Bridgetown and comes to rest at the home of composer Mac McKenzie. Music score in hand, McKenzie hums the opening bars of an orchestral work he has just completed. Cut to Hilton Schilder playing a guitar at his home in Ottery. “We normally play a guitar like this,” he demonstrates with a flourish of notes. “But what’s wrong with doing it like this?” He flips the guitar on its back, hammers on the neck with his fingers and a whoosh of unfamiliar sound pours from the instrument. McKenzie (bass and vocals) and Schilder (piano and vocals) were the songwriters of the Genuines, a band that yielded three albums of some of Cape Town’s most ambitious rock and jazz in the company of drumming titan Ian Herman and electric guitar wizard Gerard O’Brien between 1986 and 1993.The dichotomy of the group’s creative core plays out in the Mama Goema documentary as we follow McKenzie’s telescopic trajectory through rock and jazz into the hallowed realm of classical. In contrast, Schilder’s narrative is that of a gypsy, bleeding into the fabric of Cape Town’s music underworld and emerging in a variety of guises as composer, collaborator, bandleader and soloist.

Hilton Schilder’s narrative is rooted in heritage. “I come from a huge family of musicians. We are one of the biggest musical families in the world and I’m the sixth or seventh generation. I started playing at the age of three. I’ve done nothing else all these years. Draw and compose, that’s what I do.” Born in 1959 to revered jazz pianist Tony Schilder (1937-2010) and nephew of Chris Schilder of 1970s jazz fusion supergroup Pacific Express, Schilder was exposed to music as a lifestyle from an early age. “As a child there were always musicians in the house. Winston Mankunku and my uncle, to name a few. Piano players, bassists and guitarists.” Forged in the fiery cauldron of mid-80s South Africa, the Genuines provided an outlet for his distinct approach to composition. The group’s tenure with the independent Shifty Records label spawned a handful of memorable Schilder compositions that included “Narrow Escape” in 1986, a menacing account of a drunken bar scene in which a sinister voice of conscience chastises Schilder for provoking a fight with a group of bikers. “Ou Kleine Jannie” on the group’s sophomore album, Mr. Mac & The Genuines, wears a frivolous goema mask while recounting the story of an abused farm labourer moved to murderous retribution.

The Genuines then immersed themselves in the Cape Jazz sound brewed by Mountain Records in the 1990s. The instrumental “Wie is Frank?” from Nights with the Cape Gypsies was written for a friend but could easily be taken for a homage to Frank Zappa in its glorious, unpredictable, angular peculiarity. To say that Schilder ‘penned’ the moving sound-portrait “Khoisan Symphony” for saxophonist Robbie Jansen’s classic Cape Doctor album in 2000 is a misnomer as his compositions are not written. An instinctive, self-taught musician, Schilder carries his songbook around in his head. The act of creation is akin to channelling and Schilder’s muses inhabit an etheric cloud that manifests elusively. His first solo release, No Turning Back, saw him use the Khoisan mouth-bow in “Email to the Ancestors” to great effect. “I’ve got an interesting history with this instrument,” he explains. “I was playing it for about 10 years and I kept hearing this voice, a name in my ear. It took me about 5 or 6 years to find out who it was. He’s a shaman and he played the bow and I feel that I’ve got some of his spirit in me.”

The early-2000s reunited Schilder with McKenzie in the Goema Captains, which saw the recording of the timeless document Healing Destination with a cast of Cape Town’s finest during the Wondergigs concert series in Sea Point. The ensemble featured trumpeter Alex van Heerden (1974-2009), who harboured a penchant for electronic arrangements and went on to partner with Schilder as RockArt, producing the compelling electronic release Future Cape in 2006. Shifting shape once again, 2009 saw Schilder teaming up with South African music stalwarts Errol Dyers and Steve Newman in the acoustic trio All In One to create sonic tapestries with influences as varied as rumba, tango, maskanda and goema.

In 2010, Hilton Schilder fought cancer and lost a kidney in the process. While in hospital, he heard what would become the composition “Rebirth” during a morphine-induced lucid dream. Waking up bedridden and without access to an instrument, he memorised what he could recall of the piece by moving his fingers over the mental projection of a piano keyboard on the ceiling. “Rebirth” is a spiritual masterwork by a seasoned musician at the height of his powers - a sonic journey of sweeping light and shade that is both personal and universal in the depths it traverses.

“Rebirth” has been issued over two sides of a vinyl 7-inch single in a sleeve featuring Schilder’s hallucinatory ink drawings. The composition is part of a solo-piano album that includes two works from an ever-evolving song-cycle dedicated to Schilder’s wife Tesna. “Birsigstrasse 90” was composed at the song’s namesake address in Basel, Switzerland. “The Art of Flying” is inspired by the Rukma Vimana, a mythological flying palace described in ancient Hindu texts. Hilton Schilder’s journey to optimal health shapes his present lifestyle and is spurring a new wave of creativity. He became a proud grandfather to Aiden Ryan Schilder earlier this year.

Originally Published in December 2015 in The Lake #007
Writing © Calum MacNaughton
Photography © Franziska Anastasia Lentes