Toxicated Keys Drop “From Thutlwane to the World Album”

Zatunes May 6, 2022


Toxicated Keys Drop From Thutlwane to the World Album

Following the release of “Zaka Zaka” and “Monate Ke Monate”, please welcome From Thutlwane to the WorldToxicated Keys’ debut album on PSSNGR.


If you haven’t yet heard the sound of South-African “Rough Amapiano”, today’s greatest new dance genre, be ready: this LP is a spectacular nine-track showcase of what makes this new trend of Amapiano so vital and exciting.

Toxicated Keys are two very young producers (18 and 19) from the township of Mamelodi East, in Pretoria, one of South Africa’s biggest cities. They work on FL Studio and received academic training in a music school. These last years, they’ve been building a new style of Amapiano, mostly focused on freaky drum programming and the fascinating sound of the “clunk bass” preset they use heavily.

The two musicians kept some of the basic principles of classic Amapiano : mid-tempo BPMs, syncopated beats and energetic, party-oriented vocals. But they stripped out the warmth and sweetness of the original version and made room for robotic vibes and an eerie feel of never-ending pressure.

This album is clearly not your average electronic/dance album from 2022 : you won’t hear any ambient, lo-fi, deconstructed or downtempo tracks, nor find spoken-word segments or real instruments playing. There’s no manifest interest in trying to explore unexpected genres and repertoires.You probably won’t find the production luxuriously detailed or rich with nuance and depth : this is 100% straight-up dance music made by two teens, physical and functional. But these nine tracks are radically experimental though, thanks to their sheer freshness and boldness.

This is bold and experimental because the cult of clunk bass, log drums and off-beat percussion is a very serious thing here : all the tracks begin with low-key intros that slowly get the floor ready for the moment where the clunk drops. And when it drops, it’s like hearing a robot dancing, humming and building something at the same time. Something from another world lands on the dancefloor, speaking a new language.

Singers and rappers come along, sometimes with full lyrics, but also just to hype up the place, using voices as percussive instruments over the obsessive rhythm section. This is futuristic music made with a very matter-of-fact attitude, verging on aural abstraction while staying fun and popular. And we bet you won’t hear better dance tunes this year.

Style-wise, the tracks navigate from deep house to pure mental techno and crypto-soulful vibes, from Ibiza-ish big room anthems to echoes of older South-African genres. But all these influences are never standing on their own : they always fuse and blend into the Rough Amapiano groove. This is almost like a musical monster, eating and digesting every external reference to remodel it in its very own machine.

So please, before everyone plays it, do pay attention to the world’s most thrilling music right now, and move your body and soul to the sound of Toxicated Keys.

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