Bateleur’s Cargo Cults

26 Jun


Bateleur’s latest EP is a triumph of dynamic harmony between a caravan of musical textures and cross-firing rhythms.

In context of the energy and emotion of their live performances, Cargo Cults presents Bateleur’s music in isolation from dancing guitarists and screaming crowds, drawing attention to its refinement: its artful compilation of instrumental layers and swift yet fluid changes in dynamic, which construct the feeling of walking through a varied landscape along a single, never-breaking path. This is intricate music you can just lie and listen to: that will lead you through twisting labyrinths and down multicoloured corridors if you stop what you’re doing to follow it.

Each of the five tracks on the EP’s A-side is so varied, balanced and masterfully tight that it’s impossible for me to pick favourites. So far, though, I’m particularly taken with the isolated piano pieces in “Divorce” for the contrast they create in the song, and the vocals in “Twins” (you can listen to it on the band’s myspace page), which create a sound deliciously reminiscent of Radiohead. I also love the slow, mournful trumpet parts and intricate percussion work – as well as the impressive range of percussive effects – to be heard throughout the EP.

The Cargo Cults A-side presents layered music you can listen to over and over again and pick up on something new every time.


In addition to an A-side of five original tracks, this EP comes with a B-side of electronic remixes by five South African artists, namely O’ltak, Christian Tiger School, Fun Toy, Rub Rubb Rubbb and Oxblood.

O’ltak‘s synthwork (aside from being melodically deficit) is disjointed from their track to the extent of being physically nauseating, and Christian Tiger School‘s remix of “Divorce” – whilst considerably less horrifying than their live appearance – is elevator music at best.

Fun Toy, however, stepped up to the plate with super-jammable polyrhythms and a smooth integration of Bateleur’s original trumpet-work in their remix of “Museum”. I’m also very impressed with Rub Rubb Rubbb‘s reprise of “Twins”, which starts slowly and poignantly on strings, slowly integrating electronica and driving percussive tracks.


To end with more praise for Bateleur, this EP has been presented in an amazingly creative way that will get you amped about spending R150 on an EP again. How, you ask? The EP comes in the form of an engraved wooden disc with a 4GB flashdrive tucked into the back of it. It’s beautiful.

In releasing Cargo Cults, Bateleur has not only graced the world with more beautiful music in mp3 (AND .wav) format but promoted a host of local artists and come up with a way of physically presenting EPs and CDs which, if it catches on, could give fans an incentive to buy music and musicians a bit of extra cash in pocket. Cargo Cults is well worth 2 weeks’ coffee money.


Many thanks to Thomas J. Mathew for the use of his hands, camera and copy of Cargo Cults (which was sold out before I could buy it) in the production of the photos for this blog post. 


2 Responses to “Bateleur’s Cargo Cults”

  1. Thomas James Mathew 27 June 2012 at 12:10 AM #

    … my pleasure.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: