Príncipe’s latest signing breaks some new ground for the label. Whereas most of Lisbon’s African-Portuguese producers come from a single neighbourhood, Tia Maria Produções is rather more diverse. When founder Puto Márcio assembled the crew a couple of years back, he and his recruits lived on opposite sides of the river Tagus. These days, Márcio’s in Rennes, while DJ Lycox has relocated to Paris. This geographical distance hasn’t stopped the crew from developing a coherent sound. The Tá Tipo Já Não Vamos Morrer EP is mostly unified by its tunefulness. Other Lisbon producers collide samples to send dissonant sparks flying (or else let their percussion do the talking), but these guys revel in bold chords and upfront melodies.
For the most part, the vibe here is rather melancholy. In “7 Maravilhas (Damas Da Cor Do Pecado),” DJ Télio piles on the layers of bell-tones and smudged chords, softening the impact of that unmistakable lilting beat. “O Tempo Da Vida” translates roughly as “life’s time.” Its throbbing minor key chords suggest that Lycox takes a rather dim view of existence. B.Boy and Márcio’s “Hino Da Noite” is the most elegant of the lot, sporting a light-footed groove that bends and flexes in marvelously subtle ways. But Lycox’s “Underground” tops it in expressive urgency, its blaring horns and marimbas reaching almost Ruff Sqwad levels of sorrowful intensity.
While most of these tracks lope along somewhere close to house tempo, the EP is broken up by a couple of offerings in the much slower Tarraxinha style. B.Boy’s “Moh Cota” is the exception that proves the melodic rule, though its sampled shouts and weird alien bleeps don’t amount to all that much. Better is Márcio’s crew anthem “Tia Maria Da Vida.” At first the track sounds totally broken, its congas and MIDI wind instruments slouching disjointedly. Somewhere around the minute mark, though, things snap thrillingly into focus. Just when you think you’ve got the Príncipe lot pegged, they show you how wrong you were.
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Loping polyrhythms; chilly (even chintzy) digital synthesizers; brittle electronic percussion; and an overwhelming sense of melancholy, hypnotic and all-consuming. DJ Lycox’s “Underground” is one of the record’s standouts. A sawtooth midrange synth and a dreamier, pan-flute-like lead circle each other warily; the drums lash out in short, sullen bursts. Over it all, the group’s name is barked out over and over, the world’s gruffest ident, sounding pained but defiant.
Click image to read in context and listen to “Underground” by DJ Lycox.
By Steven Goldstein
DJ Lycox is stationed in Paris, but his new song “Underground” could soundtrack a party anywhere in the world. The track will be featured on Tá Tipo Já Não Vamos Morrer (“It’s like we won’t die anymore”), a forthcoming compilation from Portuguese imprint Príncipe that exclusively highlights DJs 20 years old or younger. Though “Underground” has no lyrics, the frenetic, dissident message falls right in line with the project’s theme of living fearlessly. Tá Tipo Já Não Vamos Morrer will be released this month, with additional production from Portuguese dance artists DJ Télio, DJ B.Boy and Puto Márcio.
artwork by Márcio Matos
Esta festa coincide com o lançamento do EP “Tá Tipo Já Não Vamos Morrer”. Puto Márcio está de volta para representar a sua crew Tia Maria Produções. Presentes também o clássico DJ Firmeza e “o mais viajado do momento” DJ Nigga Fox. Não pausa neste Agosto! E sempre sempre no Musicbox na baixa lisboeta.
New release celebration! This coincides with P006 going out to stores. Puto Márcio is back to represent his crew Tia Maria Produções. He is joined by classic DJ Firmeza and well-travelled DJ Nigga Fox. There’s no break this August! Always at Musicbox in downtown Lisbon.