Attempting to document youth and music cultures from across three different African cities – Lagos, Maputo and Addis Abbaba – the new documentary miniseries Taxi Waves by Rome-based collective Crudo Volta follows similar docs they’ve made that focused on gqom in Durban and afrobass in Accra.
The visual collective’s members make high-energy, high-gloss documentary films that bridge Africa and the African diaspora. But despite its flagship medium, Crudo Volta is, at its core, all about sound.
In 2016, the group made Woza Taxi, a short movie about gqom, a nocturnal house genre birthed in Durban, South Africa. Next came Yenkyi Taxi, which followed Brendan “Hagan” Opoku-Ware, a London-based producer, through Accra, Ghana, where his family is originally from. And earlier this year, Crudo Volta debuted Taxi Waves, an Italian streaming series on youth music scenes in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Nigeria. Now, the collective has spun off a record label that draws on its sonic archive and transnational ties.
That label, Python Syndicate, is a two-man joint, run by Mike Calandra Achode, a Beninese-Italian graphic designer and founding member of Crudo Volta, and Nan Kolè, a DJ and gqom evangelist. Their first release is Taxi Sampler 01: Rhythms & Vibes from the Spirit of Young Africa, a two-LP set featuring “the sonic and cultural landscape” of the continent’s contemporary underground, replete with a 26-page photo booklet.
This double-LP box on a fresh imprint launched by CV aims to showcase and nurture Africa’s underground scene and ranges wide across afrobeats, Afro hip-hop, afrobass, gqom, Ethiopian electronica and Kuduro – the result is a fascinatingly diverse snapshot of a vibrant and fast-moving array of musical cultures, all of them as informed by cultural roots as new global realities.
Many of the songs are fun and danceable; others hit a hypnotic groove and get stuck, looping into boredom. A compilation that celebrates the sounds that are defining the sonic and cultural landscape of contemporary African youth cultures across the continent.
The compilation is available digitally and as a 2LP box, which contains a 26-page booklet that explains the socio-cultural context of the music on the project. Head to Bandcamp to purchase the album in both formats.