Published May 23, 2019"Sometimes we play to lose," the multinational neo-soul quartet known as Seba Kaapstad rightly sing on "Dezaster," a mellow and wistful track that speaks to the inevitability of time and perseverance: "It's a disaster, but my heart will heal."
Debut album Thina — the Zulu word for "us" — is a case study in collaborative experimentalism. The group, comprised of German, South Africa and Swazi lineage — Sebastian Schuster, Zoe Modiga, Philip Scheibel (Pheel) and Ndumiso Manana — are joyously ambitious and mash up jazz, blues, soul and assorted polyrhythmic vibrations.
The resulting sound is somewhere between '90s UK soul (think Floetry or Soul II Soul) and alt-R&B and acid jazz sensibilities by way of Thundercat, Flying Lotus and Jill Scott. It doesn't always synthesize completely, but lord knows they are trying.
The breezy jazz harmonies and Afrocentric mentality of "Thina" glides into awareness, while "Africa" taps into the emotional ebbs and diverse flows of the continent. The uneven yet bluesy "RFRE" succeeds on premise alone, "Playground" skitters along an electronic mood and "Love!" punctuates a project that aims to heal and uplift.
Thina is entirely enjoyable, a testament to global harmony and what can be collectively achieved if we can all recognize the sonic spectrum inherent to all genres. And commit to the groove. (Mello Music Group)