South Africa got soul and there's a whole scene waiting to be discovered down there. This collab by producer ECHLN and vocalist Amarafleur might just be the tip of the iceberg and surely sparked our curiosity.
Kwetsima Maluleke aka ECHLN, (pronounced eh·shuh·lon), is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and has been creating music since 2008. His first musical inspiration mainly came from what his mom was listening to, artists like Micheal Jackson. But it was when she got Justin Timberlake's debut album Justified when he really knew what resonated with him, and it was the productions of Timbaland and The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams & Chad Hugo) on that album that did it right there and then. While the sound of ECHLN's productions might be mostly shaped by the latter duo, it's Pharrell's voice in particular that inspires him in different ways as well, such as choosing a vocalist for a track. He says in an interview for Red Bull: "When I make a song, funnily enough, I imagine Pharrell singing it in different registers. Whether that’s falsetto or an octave lower and based on that, that’s when I decide which artist will be good for it."
Vocalist Amarafleur is from Johannesburg and is a rising star on the continent in the soulful and alternative R&B field. She features on a bunch of MC's tracks, where she mainly sings the hooks and has released several solo singles as well. My current fave would be 'whole', a beautiful dreamy track.
The collaboration between ECHLN and Amarafleur for 'Come Around' happened in an organic way, like many collabs. He had seen her around the scene, knew she sings but didn't realize at first that he actually had favorited her very first song on SoundCloud a couple of years ago. When that realization kicked in he decided to contact her, sent her the beat and she recorded the vocals. The aim was to get a nice fusion between R&B and funk, and once again, with a slight Neptunes-feel. This is audible in the 4-count-intro where the first kick repeats before the beat kicks in, something Pharrell made into a signature on dozens of his productions.
The track was originally made for the vinyl-only 'EXCURSIONS #7' compilation that came out last year on Bristol's Phuture Shock label. This 12" marked ECHLN's debut on vinyl and they all liked the track so much that it's now getting a well-deserved digital release as a single.
'Come Around' will be out on a limited 7" on March 4th via Phuture Shock Musik and will also include a remix by Birmingham's own ROMderful.
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