A breakbeat odyssey from one of the scenes true masters.
Leyton Smith, AKA Blunted Stuntman has been around the block. In fact, block party would be more appropriate. He’s is one of those rare musical individuals who has been so intrinsic to the development of a style and sound that saying “it wouldn’t be the same without him” goes way beyond the cliché.
Leyton Smith started working in music before it was legal for him to work. At fifteen he was working at a small record store— and receiving payment in records. It seems that this first job set the precedent for lifelong involvement with music and its propagation.
Music has been the most consistent element in his life and his involvement in crucial music places, spaces and movements reads like A Guide to Alternative and Underground Music in South Africa 1995 – 2010.
To some, clubs and festivals might seem like unholy places, but to Leyton, they provide the platform and solution (music-related, of course). 206, Oppikoppi, the ICE raves, HEDPHUNK, The Mystic Breaks, African Dope, The Red Bull Music Academy, The Lounge, Marvel and Carfax. You name it, and Blunted Stuntman was there. And not just there— he was probably organising the party or enthralling the crowd with his distinctive blend of breakbeats, acid jazz and trip hop. He is the living definition of ‘stalwart’ and ‘beat freak’ and that’s why he’s been involved in music for 22 years.
After earning his stripes playing at some of the most amazing parties around South Africa— 2010 marks his 13th consecutive performance at the Oppikoppi Music Festival. This coupled with the fact that Blunted Stuntman has supported just about every breakbeat and jungle DJ that has visited these shores. Which is why most people are surprised to find out that Breakin ZA is his very first release. “I’ve been making compilations for years, so the fact that someone is actually releasing one is great.” he laughs. All his years of experience and profound passion for local music make this a very personal release, “I made all the calls and got all the papers signed myself, this was my project” he explains.
The two-discs offer the listener something of a breaks odyssey; the first being a collection of local production from the scene’s most notorious beat slingers. The second disc is a collection of beats from the most prolific breaks producers in the world. It’s an all-star cast from start to finish.
Breakin ZA actually started as an event, Elektrik ZA at District206 in Cape Town— the night Computicket sold too many tickets to the Leftfield & Orbital show, and the overspill of their gig ended up at 206 with Max Normal, Krushed & Sorted and the Blunted Stuntman.
Many years pushing local underground music, Leyton proudly waves the flag for South African music, which presented a puzzle when it came to this his own release—“I was never sure how the local and international stuff would blend. I always wanted to release something that represents my sound but I needed to represent local breakbeat in my release, or else it wouldn’t seem worth it”, a predicament which this explosive two disc collection solves perfectly, and, what’s better: our local boys hold their own against the world’s best.
The current compilation features the best of all the artists that have performed with Blunted Stuntman over the years. The first disc showcases the best of South African breakbeat from the African Dope label and other great Cape Town acts like Enough Weapons and Sweat X, as well as Blunted Stuntman’s debut single ‘Portraits in Sound’ and it’s B-Side ‘This Is My Life’ and then some more Joburg-based names like MPI Project and current favourites Twelv & Thesis. “Both mixes flow from a 100bpm starter, knuckle down to a 130bpm pace and slip into a dubsteppy closing set at 140bpm, showing South African tunes are on par with the rest of the world.” he says proudly.
Disc 1- Breakin ZA – The SA Selection
From a specially commissioned remix of ‘Gimme da Weed’, originally featuring on African Dope Sound System (celebrating its 10th year since release), to the fresh sounds of Mix n Blend and Jam Jar— this disc is a cross section of all the things great about local underground dance music. “Twelv & Thesis’ ‘Games’ will be a global hit, ‘Enough Weapons’ and ‘The Bulgarian’ already are”, he assures. And, let’s not forget the Blunted Stuntman’s first production attempts, ‘This Is My Life’ and ‘Portraits of Sound’ which are receiving all sorts of props. Last but not least, special mentions goes to an industry secret: Fonda covering a classic acoustically.
Disc 2 – Good Vibrations – The Greatest Hits
Classics from the past few years of breakbeat. If you have boogied to a Blunted set in recent times, these will be the numbers that rocked your world. Stanton Warriors, Plump DJs, Soul of Man, Deekline, Aquasky, Tayo, Atomic Hooligan and a host of others. “A special track for me is the Dr. Meaker near the end. I found it by accident on Beatport one night, only to find it was territory restricted—‘who the hell would license this for South Africa?’, so I went hunting and now it’s on my CD”, he explains proudly.
- Heather Mennell (2010)
Breakin’ZA is out now on F! Records, distributed by Soul Candi Distribution
FECD003 – 6009697915134 – 2CD in a Super Jewel Case