Amulets & Tin-Foil Hats
Sfiso Atomza popularly known as singer and songwriter from The Muffinz has released a three-track EP, titled Amulets & Tin-Foil Hats. The Music is a celebration of the Live instrument, bands, and his interpretations of the live groove influences that comprise the South African Live Music scene, which he feels should be re-introduced again as Mbaqanga. The work was Produced by Dumisani Judah Ngwenya, a multi-instrumentalist who lent his expertise after a chance meeting with Atomza in December 2019.
The South African live music scene is dominated by Jazz, Gospel, and a type of cosmopolitan Live band music in the ethos of Mbaqanga, and this style is fast disappearing due to its unfamiliarity caused by censorship of bands during apartheid, the advent of black American pop, compounded with the 21st-century preference for digital, synthetic and midi based music-making. It can be a confusing realisation to exist in a cosmopolitan setting. Identity must be rooted in a much greater tradition, and Atomza is learning in the new world where there is an option for identity not to be inherited but achieved.
With regards to the title, the amulet is a representation of “primitive” tools that ward off the undesirable like illnesses, etc... The tin-foil hat is perhaps a representation of protecting Independent thought. It is a means to ward off mind control which when done right, alters both Identity and Behaviour, which is not necessarily always a bad thing. The Attempted mind control is expressed by the excessive searching, biased algorithm induced findings and conclusions, facts for the moment, interpretations of data from experts, news selling fear, all seeking to influence future decision making, minds and thus behaviour.
“The title is a marker of the times, in this uncertain period, the subject matter of the project is an acknowledgment from a recovering conspiracy theorist of the possibility of a great threat against humans and their ‘flawed’ nature, which might be corrected by an artificiality provided by progress,” Atomza says.
“It is also the acknowledgment that I’m not qualified to have an opinion on freedom, and so I should focus and write art about my immediate environment, which is the person before it even extends to friends, family, fans and the world.”
And that is what he has done, writing about Personal Discovery, Infidelity as beginning with Sweet Nothings and not fumbling the Bag.
Independently recorded, produced, released, through his Publishing Company Aural Sense, which he co-owns with Members of The Muffinz. For Atomza, it’s an effort to share just an attempt at pure human emotion and share that honestly, without excessive digital processing… without the vanity of wanting it to sound as nice as it can be… but taking for what it is… the offering is as live as the music we could achieve under lockdown, limited movements and sub-urban township municipal by-laws that measure the drum noise by decibels. I'm realising my primary instrument is an ability to work with musicians, compose music and direct it.
*Listen to Amulets & Ton-Foil Hats on your Favourite streaming Platform here.