poster by Márcio Matos
Vinyl 12″ / Digital
Written and produced by DJ Firmeza;
Mastered by Tó Pinheiro da Silva, Artwork by Márcio Matos;
Released October, 2015;
VINYL/DIGITAL: Order from us
A1 – Alma Do Meu Pai
A2 – Somos Melão Doce
B1 – Os PDDG (w/ DJ Liofox)
B2 – Start Go
B3 – Coelho 2025
B2 – Suposto
Maybe it was the fact he used to be part of a dance crew with his younger brother, he can’t really tell, but the raw percussive nature of his music reveals Firmeza has a finely tuned understanding of body movements. That became more and more obvious since he first learned the ways of FL Studio via DJ Nervoso and his other – older – brother. That was it for DJ Firmeza, then 11 years old, born in Portugal but of Angolan descent. This EP is dedicated to his recently departed father, a light only overshadowed by God – it is not uncommon for Firmeza to shed some tears in those special moments during a performance when things seem too good to be true.
Clocking in at over 6 minutes, title-track “Alma Do Meu Pai” is a game-changer, 3x longer than the average batida track, a deep running hypnotic percussion grid showcasing all the rhythmic flow Firmeza inherited and perfected from his admiration of classic DJ Nervoso beats;
“Somos Melão Doce” introduces plucked synthetic strings that sound totally alien in this context but with a precise emotive agenda. It’s no chance;
Opening side B, “Os PDDG” namechecks Firmeza’s ground-breaking crew he shared with Liofox (co-authoring this track), Dadifox, Maboku and Lilocox (both now active as CDM). The tempo is comparatively relaxed, percussion drops are stars in their own right, lending an avant-garde edge to this most tribal dance;
In “Start Go”, assertive chants dance around each other, in and out of sync, securing a safe path for the heavy duty percussion workout;
By the time we reach “Coelho 2025”, it’s more than evident we are locked in Firmeza’s own intricate web of rhythm; forget notions of kuduro or afrohouse, this is really something else, a pulsating heart linked to stomping feet in a most elegant way;
“Suposto” adds flute and clipped guitar as atmosphere enhancers, balancing the usual genius percussion work. Bouncy and intuitive, one for dancers who enjoy making shapes in the air with their hands.
Vinyl 12″, first pressing is individually hand-painted, hand-stamped.
Enter DJ Firmeza, of Pequenos DJs Do Guetto, who steps up with his solo debut on Príncipe. The basics of his sound are familiar: the sound of leather and wood, of hollow rattle, of beats split open like broken drumsticks. What is different this time around is the length to which Firmeza has drawn out his fugue state. Instead of the two- and three-minute blasts of PDDG’s record, “Alma do Meu Pai” (“Soul of My Father”) stretches to six-and-a-half minutes. The shift is not just quantitative, but qualitative, especially given the extreme repetition of his arrangements. As one-bar loops roll on and on, your attention wanders from drum to drum, and when a new element enters the mix, interrupting the reverie, it takes on the force of argument. As any language teacher could tell you, it turns out that immersion, like that offered here, does amazing things for comprehension. You emerge from the song feeling not just proficient in batida’s hypnotic language but fluent, almost telepathically so. It is a remarkable sensation.
Pitchfork, September 2015
Lisbon’s DJ Firmeza kills it in his solo debut for Príncipe. It can sometimes feel futile trying to describe this sound’s unique syncopations without the aid of a dancefloor and raving bodies, so you’ll have to clear some floor space, crank up the samples and see for yourself how damn f**king effective it is. We’d recommend trying out the snakestyle batacuda of ‘Alma Do Meu Pai’, the grimy charge of ‘Start Go’, or the polyrhythmic tangle of ‘Coelho 2025’ for instant, irresistible effect. TIP!
Boomkat, September 2015
One of the younger producers in the thriving batida scene, DJ Firmeza loads up his arrangements with a vast array of compartmentalised elements, mixing traditional drums and kuduro rhythms with barking, pitch-bended vocal snippets and spoken word announcements throughout.
Bleep, September 2015
DJ Firmeza delivers a spanking workout of elastic rhythms and afro elegance with Alma Do Meu Pai. A perfect encapsulation of the joyously original sounds emanating from present-day Lisbon, it’s a cacophony of tribal exuberance and dancefloor-friendly jams.
Norman Records, September 2015
artwork by Márcio Matos
Continuamos a mostrar a Firma Do Txiga, desta vez com Puto Anderson e DJ Ninoo em ping pong. Não tanto para aquecer mas mais para desbravar caminho para Traxman, que temos a honra de receber após a tentativa falhada no ano passado. Depois é Maboku que leva a festa para a frente com o seu som futurista afro house já bem testado. Festa no Musicbox na baixa lisboeta.
Continuing to showcase Firma Do Txiga, we host another back to back from the crew’s Puto Anderson & DJ Ninoo. Not so much warm up as blast off for Traxman to finally make an appearance after last year’s failed attempt. What an honour! Then it’s up to Maboku to keep the party going with his tried and tested futuristic afro house sounds. Yes, atn Musicbox in downtown Lisbon.
Cliquem no scan abaixo para ler a entrevista e ouvir a mix!
Click scan below to read the interview and listen to the mix!
Firmeza has a glowing reputation in Lisbon as a technically dexterous DJ who, like many in the scene, mainly plays his own music.
Óptimo artigo sobre a cena, a Quinta do Mocho, DJ Nervoso e a música que adoramos.
Cliquem no scan abaixo para ler em contexto.
Wonderful piece about the scene, Quinta do Mocho, DJ Nervoso and the music we love so much.
Click scan below to read full piece in context.
Words by Ian McQuaid
Pics by Timandbarry.com, Tom Swindle
Nervoso was 12 years old when he fled war-torn Angola for Quinta do Mocho. It was 1997, and he quickly fell in with a crew of local guys who were DJing at parties around the neighbourhood. They were playing a mix of Angolan genres, from the downtempo, r’n’b- influenced kizomba right through to kuduro, the country’s predominant dance sound, in which traditional Angolan drum patterns collide with house, pop and hip hop. Nervoso was hooked and would scour Lisbon’s second-hand markets for Angolan mixtapes, absorbing as much as he could. His biggest influence was DJ Znobia, an Angolan DJ who was pioneering a slow, stripped-down version of kizomba he called tarraxinha (which loosely translates as ‘the moment a man penetrates a woman’) When the young Nervoso tried to recreate Tarraxinha he decided to break it down to basics, removing almost everything other than syncopated snares rushing and clattering over a kick-drum. Then he sped the whole thing up. In the process he made something compellingly new.
“All I did was catch the mood and create a more danceable thing,” Nervoso says through a translator as we sit in his living room. “In Angola, if people don’t know the specific dance steps to a song they don’t dance, so I was trying to create something that anyone could dance to.” This approach yielded startling results, and laid the foundation for Nervoso’s status as local icon. In person, he’s a quiet, assured presence, small, taciturn, bulky from working on building sites. But when he talks about the parties in the early 00s that first made him a star in the hood, an infectious grin spreads across his face.
“When I was invited to play a party, on the day of the event I’d make one or two new tracks to play on Fruity Loops. One time I tried a different thing – I blended just two loops, one from each track, cutting back and forth between them, and I carried on doing it for two hours The people got so high on the rhythm and the repetition that they started doing gymnastic moves, they were flipping on the floor, up the wall, standing on their hands, going crazy! Then they started ripping my clothes off, and their clothes off. It got completely wild! In the end I was only in my shorts so I had to stop playing the loops…
“This was on a Saturday through to a Sunday. The next Sunday a load of people called me asking if I could do the same loop at a different party. People there had bought a load of whisky and had shown up just to hear that loop. It got very wild.”