Words by XLR8R STAFF
Chapa Quente illustrates that the Lisbon sound forged by Marlon Silva and other Principe Discos contributors—loosely comprised of Brazillian Batucada, Angolan Kuduro, and a number of other Afro-Portuguese musics—effectively possesses no stylistic boundaries. The Portuguese phenom displays the full range of his production chops here, moving effortlessly between the blazing polyrhythmic complexity of ‘Unsound’ and the restrained danceability of ‘Tarraxo Everyday.’ Compounded with instrumentation that marries raw, unprocessed drum machine sounds with lively flutes and marimbas, Silva’s finished product wields what could be the most idiosyncratic aesthetic of the year.
Words byApril Clare Welsh
On the lead single from his Chapa Quente EP, Lisbon producer and batida pioneer DJ Marfox shows off the deft hybridity of his work by slapping an undulating flute melody over a hard-hitting slab of ‘90s techno. A dizzying polyrhythmic assault, it’s one of the highest points on an already vertigo-inducing record, securing Marfox’s status as the overlord of Príncipe.
Words byNick Murray
13. Various Artists, ‘Mambos Levis D’Outro Mundo’
Over the last five years, the Príncipe Discos label has become synonymous with the jagged, indescribable club music coming out of Lisbon. Mambos Levis D’Outro Mundo, Príncipe’s first compilation, collates 27 tracks, all slightly out of joint, that would rattle any club on Earth. But these beats are just as compelling heard through headphones – you could spend a long morning-after trying to discern the logic that holds together every interjected noise and seemingly random percussion glitch. Niagara’s “Alexandrino,” for instance, sounds like Depeche Mode and Cajmere trapped in an elevator, and it would stun the same in 2016 Lisbon as it would in 1992 Chicago or, presumably, on a spaceship to Mars in 2045. Which isn’t to say these sounds are timeless, just don’t expect to ever live in a time when they don’t sound fresh. N.M.
Principe Discos continued to represent the Lisbon scene in 2016, bringing the noise with intoxicating releases from Niagara, DJ Nervoso and the one-and-only DJ Marfox. Inspired by both the sound and intensity of a childhood in the Quinta da Vitória shantytown, Marfox creates a dizzying collection of tough, rapid fire beats, exotic sounds and disorienting effects designed only with dancing in mind. Raw, uncompromising and incomparable, Chapa Quente rips up the rulebook and ruins your speakers in the best possible way.
Words by Ezra Marcus
On his latest release for powerhouse Lisbon label Principe Discos, the batida pioneer expands his palette to account for the banner year he’s had touring Europe and America—”Unsound” references the downbeat techno he encountered at its namesake festival, for example. “2685” blends delirious throwback rave elements with a flute line as startling and refreshing as a spray of mist to the face. My personal favorite highlight is “Tarraxo Everyday,” with loping drums and a New Age-y synth line that sounds ripped from a hazy Laraaji jam session. “I have a notion when a song’s going to be immediate,” said DJ Marfox when we spoke with him earlier this year. “It’s a beautiful feeling.” On Chapa Quente, this sense of tactile joy is hard to miss.