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John Wizards

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Album Review

The debut, self-titled release from Cape Town duo John Wizards is a collaborative effort between bedroom producer John Withers and Rwandan vocalist Emmanuel Nzaramba. The music Withers creates has a combination of influences ranging from South African house, funk with synth-heavy electronics, and fidgety, West African electric guitars. The album opens with the piano-tinkered "Tek Lek Schrempf," ending in a climactic guitar solo neatly rolling into the synth-pop of "Lusaka by Night," featuring Auto-Tuned vocals in Nzaramba's native Kinyarwandan language. Both tracks manage to flow seamlessly into one another while being stylistically different, which is a running theme throughout this album, taking you on a journey through Africa and beyond and never ending up in the same place. Other tracks here see glimpses of Shangaan Electro "(Limpop)," Hudson Mohawke-esque '80s synth "(Leuk)," as well as Arthur Russell-style vocals ("I'm Still a Serious Guy"). Although we can reference the influences, John Wizards create music in their own style and unmistakably theirs, casually switching genres and changing rhythms with ease. The album may take continuous listens due to its unpredictability, but it's a very refreshing and intriguing debut, one that will make a good soundtrack for summer. ~James Pearce, Rovi

Customer Reviews


title says it all

Oh dear

Not many words will describe this music justly. So varied, but so perfectly arranged. So textured. So beautiful. Thank you for this. Gah!


Formed: 2010 in South Africa

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '10s

South Africa's John Wizards started as a project in 2010 for bedroom producer John Withers, and influenced by a wide range of music. The vocal duties are by Rwandan Emmanuel Nzaramba, whom Withers met by chance, initially in Cape Town, where the two began to discuss music and planned to work together. Soon after, however, Nzaramba lost his job and mobile telephone, then decided to move from the area, meaning it would prevent the two from staying in contact. In 2012, almost a year since the two had...
Full Bio
John Wizards, John Wizards
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Customer Ratings