Faka, the dynamic duo of Desire Marea and Fela Gucci, are proudly representing black and queer creativity with potent sound and vision. Along with their glam imagery and performance pieces, they make music which combines the brute force of Gqom with the optimistic ghost of bubblegum township pop, kwaito and gospel. Their artistic manifesto is best epitomized by the song `Izitibane zaziwe ukhuti zibuya ebukhosini’ (Let it be known, that queerness is a thing of the Gods) which they released with the accompanying statement: ‘ this is an ode to all the powerful dolls who risk their lives every day by being visible in an unsafe world. This is a celebration of those who have fearlessly embraced themselves. Because when your identity is the cause of your suffering in the world, you begin to feel the very source of your greatness in the world’.
This hopeful message underlies the mysterious and alluring debut EP Bottoms Revenge. Adapted from a live piece of the same name, this three track Ep is thirty minutes of outrageously psychedelic `Ancestral Gqom Gospel.’ The opening ‘ Isifundo Sokuqala’ starts with a false sense of calm, until it introduces hypnotic static. The 18 minute title track is ambient odyssey through inner and outer space. Such a terse description undersells how unique their music is, but that’s because it hard to describe something so singular. If I had to pin it down, I’d describe it as sounding like releases from an alternate timeline where Brenda Fassie teamed up with post-punk synthesizer abusers Cabret Voltaire to ritually summon a benevolent matriarchal elder god.
Appropriately, the EP is released on NON records, a collective which has been steadily building an impressive catalogue of provocative music. In such dark times, where a racist maniac has just been elected to the most powerful political position of Earth, this expression of individualism and refusal of labels feels like a welcome act of aesthetic resistance.