Buraka Som Sistema have always liked throwing curveballs. From their first DJ residencies, where off-the-cuff sets were "pretty much rehearsed live...mixing for people at raves, that was our practice - kinda like shock therapy" to incorporating unusual material into their songs - recording shattering glass, or throwing an orange at the wall and using the sound as a snare. Even their first drum & bass collective, Fusion Lab, had a reputation for mixing things up: "it wasn't all about drum & bass, it was all about experimenting with crazy beats." So it was hardly surprising that some years ago, on a whim, they ended up playing around with an obscure mid-90s genre like kuduro.
Buraka's sound is the result of a thoroughly modern post colonial cultural exchange between Portugal and Angola, a former Portuguese colony. It started out as kids trying to make techno music in Africa on old analogue equipment. By the time it hit Lisbon, European dance music had been added to the mix and things were set to go off. After working on a few genre-smashing kuduro re-edits, Buraka kicked off the night from which they later took their name. It was a sweating, heaving party that embodied the spirit of everything a club night should be. Raw and unadulterated, it was instantly recognisable as a landmark event, generating a tangible thrill of something special and new coming together.
"A mix CD is at the core of what Buraka was about at the beginning. It's like going back to the roots. At the same time, it's very exciting to be out there doing different music and influencing different sounds. A lot of artists, like some dubstep artists and even some UK funky are picking up on the sound, and that's amazing. That's something that we are really happy to be part of. We also wanted to avoid making a compilation of 20 club bangers that two months from now are going to be totally forgotten and people are going to be totally sick of them because they've heard it in the club so many times already. We also wanted to have a lot of our fresh material on there. And thirdly, we wanted to achieve a kind of flow where there are moments in the mix for you to relax, like Zomby's track." Buraka Som Sistema
After a year of touring their debut album 'Black Diamond', the guys are taking things back to the beginning. FABRICLIVE 49 recaptures the same explosive dynamism, and ebullient enthusiasm of those original Buraka Som Sistema parties in Lisbon on disc; a vibrant reminder of the idea behind the name of the group - Buraka Sound System. Their FABRICLIVE CD encapsulates Buraka's love for the lost art of the remix album, with a stackful of re-rubs of their own records, putting the emphasis on talent over big names (including versions from L-Vis 1990, Stenchman and A1 Bassline, for instance). Interestingly, what has become clear to Buraka over the last few years is the impact kuduro has had on club music the world over, with more and more sounds beginning to resemble, or show signs of the influence of, kuduro itself.