Vinyl 12″ / Digital
Written and produced by Blacksea Não Maya;
Mastered by Tó Pinheiro da Silva, Artwork by Márcio Matos;
Released September, 2020;
VINYL/DIGITAL: Order from us
A1 – DJ Kolt – Terror
A2 – DJ Kolt – Obscuro
A3 – DJ Kolt – 7even
A4 – DJ Kolt – Tchiling District
B1 – DJ Perigoso – Horizonte
B2 – DJ Kolt – Bubadagash
B3 – DJ Noronha – Estranhos E Loucos
B4 – DJ Kolt – Africanalidade
These polished and tense atmospheres land about 5 years since Blacksea Não Maya’s previous release on Príncipe, shifting the music into another dimension. Side A brings forth a sense of unease, despite the last track being named “Tchiling District”. Slow, grinding beats, moody atmospheres, a clear break from the norm, one that sounds as sudden and surprising as the arrhythmia on “7even”. Sombre times for sure, the producers went with the flow and let their soul speak, opening up to those dark corners our brains have and stepping into them to embrace individuality (no two dark corners are alike).
This results in music that sounds like nothing else BNM did before. To be honest, it’s fairly new territory anywhere. “Horizonte” opens side B with a sprawling chrome surface as far as the eye can see, before blocks of beats return to haunt in “Bubadagash”. Quirky and tense. “Estranhos e Loucos” is a proper dancefloor tune with a catchy, bouncy bassline and vocal snippets that clearly demonstrate where this continuum touches UK’s so-called hardcore continuum. We’re all in the same Planet, right? And it’s not Venus. BNM: “Venus is the planet of Love but in this case it’s love in the real world, which also brings pain that one has to endure in order to keep on loving.”
B4 is “Africanalidade”, taking us back to familiar territory but borders are kept open into the future. Our collective choice, not so much to cross them as to erase them.
Vinyl 12″; individually hand-painted sleeve, 500 copies available for the world.
Um tom de desconforto apocalíptico marca a entrada do disco e vários outros momentos em “Máquina De Vénus”. A marcha sintética em “Terror” vai introduzindo um sentimento de apreensão mas, também, de capacidade para enfrentar os problemas. Mudança quase total no jogo de Blacksea Não Maya: DJ Perigoso, DJ Noronha e, sobretudo, DJ Kolt (a maioria das faixas são produções suas) adaptam o que quer que se conheça da chamada “batida de Lisboa” a outros desafios muito pessoais, ainda dentro do percurso lógico – reparem nas quebras rítmicas, no som seco dos pratos em “Obscuro”, por exemplo. Nessa faixa, borbulhar típico em muitos tarraxos, e esse género encontra-se também bastante subvertido na seguinte “7even”, cujo esqueleto é todo feito de contratempos quase anti-ergonómicos. Até no desformatado “Horizonte” são aparentes as marcas identitárias desta música (os pratos, de novo). Noronha abre tudo com “Estranhos E Loucos”, incrível banger de pista e Kolt fecha o círculo com “Africanalidade”, remetendo tudo para a origem mas firme na actualidade. Brilhante.
Flur, September 2020
In step with the more polished production advances of their label mates, Lisbon’s DJ Kolt, DJ Noronha, and DJ Perigoso – aka Blacksea Não Maya – arrive 5 years on from their previous showing with a remarkably darker, muscular take on mutated Angolan dance music. Fiercely technoid and blessed with a newfound sense of late night drama, the sound of ‘Máquina de Vénus’ is exactly how we imagine this sound in 2020; reflecting the march of the machines and cosmic events beyond anyone’s control in their slickly mechanised rhythms and infectiously brooding atmospheres.
Like the leaps and bounds in production values and intricate arrangements found on the DJ Nigga Fox and Nídia albums over the past year, Blacksea Não Maya keep pace in their own way, working to ruggedly squashed variations of Tarraxho and Batida styles that come to recall the developments of the UK’s hardcore continuum during the ‘90s into the late ‘00s. But where that scene arguably ran out of energy a long time ago, Blacksea Não Maya boldly charge it into an uncertain future.
Kicking off with the beastly detonations and hulking slow techno of ‘Terror’, they swing hard off-the-bone in ‘Obscure’, and weave in hard trap and reggaeton nods on ’Tchiling District’ to set the tone on the A-side, before the lustrous cyber-noir licks and choral pads of ‘Horizonte’ open the B-side to the slow, dive-bombing synths and the industrial-tarraxho swag of ‘Bubadagash’, a bubbling technoid stepper named ‘Africanalidade’, and for terrific measure, the positive rave upswing of ‘Estranhos e Loucos’ with its speed garage-style vocal chops and head high jackers pressure.
Breathtaking, thrilling, outrageously strong gear for body music fiends and dance connoisseurs.
Boomkat, September 2020
Can nothing stop Príncipe Discos at this stage? Just when we think we’re comfortable with the wild footwork-adjacent sounds they’ve been gifting us, they return with the shockingly dark Máquina De Vénus from Blacksea Não Maya. Accompanied this time around by fellow scene luminaries DJ Kolt, DJ Perigoso and DJ Noronha, the likes of ‘7even’ and ‘Horizonte’ inject a jarring sense of fear into their kuduro beats. Hand percussions still inform the rhythms across the LP, but a distinctly ambient sensibility comes across in ‘Terror’, albeit one soaked in crepuscular atmospherics and a trembling fear befitting its title.
Bleep, September 2020
Best independent remix: Lafawndah – Tourist x Nídia rework
In a further nod to the electronic music community, Best Independent Remix in association with DesignScene was picked up by Nídia and Lafawndah for Nídia’s percussive reimagining of the Lafawndah’s track ‘Tourist’, ‘Tourist X Nídia Rework’.
Words: Dave Turner
From the very first moment of pressing play on NÍDIA’s new album, you’re suddenly hit with a wave of clattering drum-ridden angst. Now that might not seem like the most desired of feelings given the circumstances at the time of writing, but I can promise there is fun and joy wound in the intense club-focused deconstructions. ‘Nik Com’, for example, stutters with bright, jangly chords, ‘Tarraxo Do Guetto’ is charged with telephone-like bleeps and ‘Capacidades’ comes through in the vein of a big budget mid-00s rap production. Album closer ‘Emotions’, with its blaring horns, feels like an OG grime instrumental and is a regal bowing out of a stunning album.
Words: Madison Bloom
The music released by Príncipe Discos reflects the musical rhythms of the African diaspora by way of the speaker-rattling clubs of Lisbon. Many of Príncipe’s artists are Portuguese-born descendants of countries on Africa’s west coast, and the label specializes in a high-energy amalgam of African dance styles known as batida. Uptempo kuduro, sensual kizomba, and tarraxinha beats bubble up from Príncipe’s young DJs, who often hail from African immigrant communities on the outskirts of Lisbon. The appalling inequities represented by these underserved areas of Portugal’s capital have once again been exposed due to the current pandemic, while the global reckoning around race has forced many to contend with the European country’s fraught history.
Portugal’s colonial past in Africa was brutal: Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Portuguese ships transported nearly six million Africans into slavery, and onetime colonies Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau only gained independence less than 50 years ago, in the mid ’70s. Since then, generations of African immigrants have moved to Portugal, with many of them settling around Lisbon. In this context, the dizzying beats of Príncipe artists like DJ Lilocox, Nídia, and DJ Marfox take on an even greater urgency as they soundtrack club nights in the city and beyond.
Príncipe is currently run by friends Márcio Matos (who creates the bold cover art for every release), José Moura, Nelson Gomes, and André Ferreira. Matos first met Moura when he walked into Moura’s Lisbon record store, Flur Discos, more than 10 years ago. Some semblance of a label began to take shape shortly after, but things didn’t click into place until they started working with DJ Marfox, who Matos considers to be the father of the label. The producer’s 2011 EP Eu Sei Quem Sou marked Príncipe’s first official release, forever changing the landscape for aspiring local DJs.
Despite Príncipe’s unabashed enthusiasm for their city’s dance music and young DJs, the reality of four white men running a label of primarily Black artists doesn’t escape them. “In the beginning, artists were like, ‘We’ve never seen these motherfuckers, and they are coming here to take our music,’” Matos admits over the phone. “So I had to show them that I work for them only. I would never do a bad thing to them because they are my number one.”
Matos also takes great pride in highlighting Príncipe artists at Noite Príncipe, a monthly club night that’s been running at Lisbon’s Musicbox venue since 2012 (the event has been dormant for months due to COVID-19). It’s where DJs get to test unreleased material on crowds, and the label gets to audition promising talent. According to Matos, these parties are where the label’s music reaches its peak potential. “You have to have room for imagination,” he says, talking about the living, breathing philosophy of Príncipe Discos. “This is not a museum.”
Here are eight tracks that capture the invigorating, genre-chopping club sounds of Príncipe Discos.
The Debut: DJ Marfox’s “Eu Sei Quem Sou” (2011)
DJ Marfox is the elder statesman of Príncipe Discos. His DJs Di Guetto crew issued their pioneering self-titled batida compilation all the way back in 2006, and Príncipe re-released the comp in 2013. But the label’s first official pressing was DJ Marfox’s frenetic Eu Sei Quem Sou EP. Its title track is impossible to ignore: a kuduro assault of severed vocal samples, chirping synths, and punishing rhythms. Seven years after its release, it still sounds bracing and fresh—dance music that shocks the body into motion. “Marfox was absolutely key in the early development of the label,” Moura says of Príncipe’s premiere artist. Matos adds, “Without Marfox, there would not be Príncipe.”
The “Aha!” Moment: DJ N***a Fox’s “Powerr” (2013)
Moura and Matos both remember hearing DJ N***a Fox’s O Meu Estilo EP for the first time. “We knew that thing was from another planet and automatically felt it was really going to be a banger,” Matos recalls. Standout track “Powerr” plays like sinister disco, as ghostly, howling winds course under belching basslines. “What conquered me above all the lovely strangeness and unmistakable groove is the way it sounds so effortlessly African while joining unlikely dots,” Moura says. According to Matos, Príncipe’s first two releases didn’t catch fire at first, but the reaction to O Meu Estilo was immediate. “That was the changing point,” he says.
The Tribute: DJ Firmeza’s “Alma Do Meu Pai” (2015)
DJ Firmeza recorded Alma Do Meu Pai in the wake of his father’s death (the title’s rough translation is: Soul of My Father), making it a particularly notable piece for Matos. Firmeza’s work is highly percussive, and on the EP’s title track, he deals in dizzying rhythms, tossing brittle beats and rubbery hand drums like an expert juggler. “Alma Do Meu Pai” was an early standout for the label in part for its emotional significance, but also due to its length. Clocking in at six-and-a-half minutes, it is about three times longer than a typical batida track, though its mesmerizing groove seems to suspend time altogether. DJ Firmeza often uses his Noite Príncipe sets to experiment, building upon his rhythmic palette. “One time he connected a phone that had an app that makes bongos and drums, and he was mixing those drums in real time with the music,” Matos says. “That’s magic.”
The Crowd Pleaser: DJ Lilocox’s “La Party” (2016)
The reception of DJ Lilocox’s “La Party” was so spectacular, with local DJs playing the track over and over, that Matos recalls enforcing a new rule at Noite Príncipe: “If you were playing on the same night as Lilocox, you cannot play music by him.” Lilocox’s clattering rhythms and metallic synth phrases combine to form an inviting dance cut that’s more accessible than some of Príncipe’s more esoteric releases. The Lisbon-based Lilocox has since drifted from staccato batida into vibey Afrohouse. His 2018 Paz & Amor EP is another fan favorite for the label (atmospheric opening track “Vozes Ricas” is a must-listen), although Moura says that Príncipe were hesitant to release the record given its resemblance to straight house music.
The Melody Maker: DJ Lycox’s “Solteiro” (2017)
Príncipe artists are undisputed masters of rhythm, but Paris-based DJ Lycox is a skilled craftsman of melody, to boot. “Solteiro,” from his 2017 LP Sonhos & Pesadelos, shouldn’t work on paper: pitched-up vocals paired with roiling congas, electric violin samples, and what sounds like a melodica. It’s a mashup of ’90s house and something you might hear from a Parisian busker on the steps of Montmartre that manages to be both strange and sweet.
A Label Fave: Puto Tito’s “Melodia Daquelas” (2019)
Puto Tito’s “Melodia Daquelas” is one of the label’s most minimal tracks (and one of Moura’s personal favorites). The song appears on the double EP Carregando A Vida Atrás Das Costas—a collection of material the producer made in 2014 and 2015, when he was barely into his adolescence. Príncipe salvaged the material from Puto Tito’s old SoundCloud page and mastered it for digital and vinyl release (the original files have since been lost). More akin to an avant-garde video game score than dance music, “Melodia Daquelas” is a beatless loop of bleating notes rotating in a hypnotic swirl—a pensive, anti-dance track among Príncipe’s crackling club bangers.
The Outlier: Niagara’s “7648” (2020)
In early July, Príncipe released the 32-song compilation Verão Dark Hope on Bandcamp. Each standalone track was selected from a pool of new and archival material, and, more importantly, 100 percent of the proceeds from the compilation’s sales were distributed equally among the featured artists. Some of the DJs had never cut a record with Príncipe; others, like DJ Marfox and DJ Firmeza, are vets. Electronic trio Niagara fall into the veteran camp, and their stunning track “7648” is a revelation. A rare Príncipe track with sustained vocals, the single drifts on woodwinds and chirping wildlife samples—a simmering synth patch sounds indecipherable from an orchestra of crickets, or a surge of rushing water. Amid Príncipe’s vibrant catalog, “7648” is a rare soothing respite.
The New School: Nídia’s “Hard” (2020)
Barely into her 20s, and the only woman represented by the label (Moura hopes she will be an influence on young female DJs), Nídia is one of the most prolific artists on Príncipe. Her recent S/T EP marks the third entry in a triptych, following her Badjuda Sukulbembe 7″ and her latest LP, Não Fales Nela Que A Mentes, both of which landed earlier this year. S/T highlight “Hard” is rough, urgent, and incendiary, a testament to Nídia’s belief that music from her community—the Vale de Amoreira housing projects outside of Lisbon—should be “like an explosion in your face.” According to Moura, it was DJ Marfox who introduced the label to Nídia—a classic case of the old guard ushering in the new.
DJ Danifox, or Daniel Veiga, must be the only member of Príncipe to be based in Leeds, in the north of England. Veiga, the son of Angolan parents, was born in Lisbon, Portugal but he moved to the United Kingdom in 2014, around the time that he began making his first beats as a means of sheltering from family-related difficulties surrounding him. As his aesthetic began to take shape, coming from tarraxo, kuduro, and Lisbon ghetto, he connected with the Príncipe crew through his friend Deejay Ary, whom he collaborated with on 2016’s Dorme Bem.
Now 20 years old, Veiga is touted as one of Príncipe’s rising names, acknowledged for his dancefloor cuts and playful vibes. After releasing his debut solo EP, Long Way Talk, on Los Angeles’ Point Records, moving from kuduro to house and featuring his own vocals, he’s contributed “Dark Hope,” a closing title track, to Príncipe’s thrilling 32-track label compilation. Alongside Puto Márcio, Lycox, and BBoy, Veiga also forms the Tia Maria Produções crew, who will release a new EP on Príncipe later this year.
Veiga recorded his XLR8R podcast in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier this month, without really thinking too much about it. Instead of trying to create a pumping club mix, he’s taken a relaxed approach, compiling a set from his own private archives, whether that’s as a solo artist, with DJ Lycox, or as part of Tia Maria Produções—but that won’t stop you dancing.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I’ve been trying to stay positive, and look out for myself and the loved ones around me. Also trying to not let down my creative side and have the channels open to keep the music coming and flowing.
02. Can you talk to me about your journey into music?
When I was a child, I was born in Lisbon, and I used to like playing football. I also had good ears because my family was very musical. When I was 13, I went to Angola and I saw kids playing with homemade instruments—like they’d use a can for percussion. Returning to Portugal, I began to have some kind of communication with my friends and they told me about this software called FL Studio. I’d never paid much attention to this software until I moved to Leeds. I had problems at home and outside my home that made me isolate in my bedroom and only by making music did I feel calm and also confident with my person, and that’s how I discovered who I am today.
03. Which artists do you look up to?
Dj Adamm, Dj Lycox, and Dj Nigga Fox.
04. Where and when did you record this podcast?
I recorded this podcast in Lisbon, Portugal on July 23.
05. What can we expect with the mix?
No expectations. I’m just happy when anyone can take the time to listen to it. It’s different from what I’d play in a club because the dancers in the room normally contribute to the music I play; it’s like we do it together, a mystery.
06. What’s up next on your horizon?
We, Tia Maria Produções, have a new EP ready in the pipeline, coming on Príncipe before the year ends.
07. What are your longer-term ambitions with music?
As I say, “day doesn’t kill day.” What’s important is that I’m happy with it and I’m allowed to share my imagination with everyone.