Here is music from another world, a foray into a stark and colourful far-off slice of space-time; it's by Ghanaian producer T'Challa and it's an EP, a collection of instrumental beats released under the title Wakandan Sonix – a reference to the fictional African country of Wakanda that features in the Marvel universe. With this sense of extraordinary fiction in mind, the soundscapes that the producer, real name Khalid Iddisah, conjures are just the ticket: otherworldly, interdimensional, future-facing and unique, they summon unknown far-flung places and mind-spaces with brutal beat-led simplicity.
Whilst tagged "Trap", and certainly pertaining to the swagger for the most part, the tracks sometimes actually feel closer to the experimentalism of grime—the beats of 'Epic' hang in the air, wide and open, following a booming remix of The Internet's 'Special Affair', both tracks haunted by rattling hi-hats and clacking snares; 'Analog' has that sub-bass menace, but the beats feel fresh and simple, the chords are brooding and strange, the synth melodies plink playfully. The other remix, closing the EP, a bootleg of 'Because' by Smerz, in fact carves out a house beat as things get deep and dark and sufficiently groovesome. There is seemingly no one genre at work here, more one style at work, one sound, one slant and one direction.
The portal to paths untrod by humans is certainly open: refreshing chords ring out sharply and brightly against a sheer clatter of beats in 'Chaodic' as the tracks swings between these cosmic, sun-after-the-rain parts and its more trappish parts, where sub-bass hums as stuttering laser synths shoot by. 'Djin Music' (named after the supernatural beings, maybe) floats in, marching and whirling soft sounds above the crunch of bass, a church bell donging to signal unhinged saw-wave synthwork, a grimey feeling hung like a shroud over the thickets of percussion here. Personal favourite 'The Endz' is the epitome of grime: a filtered plasma blast for a bassline, the refrain of jangling strings, the jostle and crash of snare and hand-clap together, spacey sunrise synth chords brightening the tone as the track rollicks to its unexpected end.
T'Challa's beatscapes effuse difference and imagination, throw spanners and cog-busting objects into the workings of our minds as we try to figure out what it is or where we're being taken. Distinctions like 'light and dark' and 'future or past', traditional oppositions, seem to fuse in this producer's music. Likewise, simplicity and complexity work together as basic beat patterns and repeating melodies feel unique and intricate, lacing into one another, chasing each other in an un-world where un-things un-happen; a glance into a new dimension where chaos and beauty overlap with graceful severity.
- You can listen to Wakandan Sonix in its entirety above or on SoundCloud.