Amampondo aren’t ‘tribal’, they’re South African. Henrik Schwarz’s “live version” of their song ‘I Exist Because of You’ isn’t “tribal” either, it’s awesome. It’s the definition of danceable. It’s the track that you play over again once it finishes.
What makes this so good? For me it’s the fact that it has so many different rhythms going on simultaneously – drums, marimba, some sort of crazy wind instrument. So all these different things are happening, but all are interlocking perfectly. You could dance a different move to each bar, never repeating yourself, but still keep the bubbling percolating groove going the whole way through. In all honesty, I don’t know how much Henrik Schwarz had to do with that, having never heard the source material. But what he has done is added a solid 4/4 thump underneath the track so DJs will be able to mix it. He’s also brought techno sensibilities to the way some parts come in and out so that the chants and melodic riffs crash in like your favourite evil synth sound, but in a much warmer more organic way.
Dixon goes further on his Stripped Down version dialing up the kick drum, paring back most of the dense melodic aspects and looping the chants. And you know what? It’s “tribal”. There’s a decent jacking groove, and the drums are great, but after hearing Henrik’s version it just sounds a little thin and cold. From a genre-bound perspective this is more “house” and therefore more playable, but if you love to dance intricately and effortlessly, you’ll plump for the Schwarz side every time.