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Unbenannt-2Unbenannt-4

Vinyl 12″ / Digital
Written and produced by Niagara;
Mastered by Tó Pinheiro da Silva, Artwork by Márcio Matos;
Released October, 2016;

VINYL/DIGITAL: Order from us

A1 – Asa
A2 – IV
B1 – Amarelo
B2 – Laranja

PRESS RELEASE

Niagara started 2016 firmly committed to their own Ascender label, having released a first 12″ late in 2015. A string of stellar CDRs guaranteed their relevant (and private) output became available outside their studio. The consistency is such that it was no effort selecting 4 additional tracks to assemble a third EP on Príncipe.
Opener “Asa” is strong on keys, suggests a cool jazz walkabout where the machines and other instruments seem to be jamming together without interference. This broadens the horizon of whoever thought they are a House band;
As countless other dance tracks, “IV” is built around a steady kickdrum, supporting a succession of vibes hitting left and right, obeying only the illogical architecture of Niagara’s sonic world;
“Amarelo” is the longest track in the set. Very physical and expansive beats, a funky guitar groove, deep bass tones and it ends just like that!
A cascading drum machine holds its own, then comes a wandering flute and passing waves as jets in the sky. Trippy and brilliant, “Laranja” changes coordinates and points to a fresh destination.

Vinyl 12″; individually hand-painted, hand-stamped copies available in Portugal only.

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O início de ano fulgurante, por parte dos Niagara, abrandou nos meses de calor, mas unicamente porque há trabalho a fazer. No que se refere apenas à música (e a vida é bem mais que isso), os métodos mudam, há experiências constantemente a ser realizadas, instrumentos diferentes acrescentados ao lote e uma curiosidade enorme por parte dos três Niagara (Alberto, António e Sara). Eles próprios mudam o seu jogo, forçam-se novas questões para serem obrigados a novas soluções, e “São João Baptista” reflecte admiravelmente o que está diferente desde a última vez. A ideia de techno ou house está muito difusa, aqui, e recebe-se com naturalidade uma incorporação que diriamos bem próxima do jazz, tal como, em “Amarelo”, um intensificar do seu enamoramento por um compasso que já levou alguma imprensa a aproximá-los de um cenário pós-punk. O EP avança a estética, prende também mais à terra o ouvinte, com blocos de som bem concretos. A acústica é maravilhosa em “São João Baptista”, muitos deslizes por muitas plataformas e, se o som pode eventualmente soar austero, acreditem que se trata de diversão. Clássico instantâneo, e não o diríamos se não acreditássemos 100%.
Flur, October 2016

OK they may display shades comparable with Hieroglyphic Being at his bendiest, or even traces of Pop Dell’ Arte in their musical DNA, but there’s some defiantly offbeat and textured to the bittersweet, cranky yet playful jazz-house of Asa, and even when they simply put a big kick under it, like with IV, they still manage to make it sound warped in their own image; a proper grinning/gurning fizzog.
When they lock down to a beat, they really juice it for all its worth in burred, ferric disco psychedelia of Amarelo, but equally know how to swivel your bones in distinctly fresh but tribalistic style with the splayed snare patter and lysergic, flanged-out flute tickles of Laranja. Whatever, they’ll make your ‘floor feel weird and bring out the best dancers.

Boomkat, October 2016

São João Baptista introduit ainsi de nouvelles influences dans la musique du trio : on trouvera des réminiscences jazz dans les notes égrénées de clavier d’un « Asa » se rapprochant de Tortoise, ou des inflexions presque krautrock dans l’excellent « Amarelo », porté par une basse puissante. La répétition règne en règle, emportant l’auditeur dans des cercles sans fin sur lesquels se greffent progressivement de nouvelles textures, de nouvelles nappes : « IV », probable sommet de l’EP, s’apparente ainsi à un exercice de style provoquant un progressif dérèglement des sens, autour d’une mélodie insistante et lentement modulée. « Laranja », étrange écrin percussif sur lequel se superposent des touches vaporeuses, s’impose finalement comme conclusion idéale d’un EP intrigant et original, qui témoigne – si cela était encore nécessaire – de la vitalité de la scène portugaise actuelle.
SeekSickSound, October 2016

Niagara, one of Principe’s biggest acts (along with DJ Marfox) returns to the label with a tasty four tracker of brand new material, their third on this cult Portugese beats and bass label. Principe spearheaded a new sound a few years ago, taking cues from cumbia, raggaclash and kuduro; ‘batida’ (instrumental kuduro) was metallic, harsh and aggressive, but also had this undeniable groove and sound system friendly aesthetic that would see it find favour across much greater circles than its native Lisbon. If kids in south London were turning to the grime / dubstep template to let off steam, then this is what the inner city kids of Lisbon were flexing; it’s all punk rock anyway! “Asa” signals the start of this new collection of songs, haphazardly concocting up a tropical but rambunctious drum template, Niagara layers up nice keyboard flurries, squelchy synth stabs and waxy (synth?)-Rhodes lines. A modern and tropical take on the hardware driven vibe and effortlessly done. “IV” is up next, my personal favourite with its lysergic vocal delays, full frequency rub down and catchy, off-kilter rhythm. Flip and “Amerelo” comes charging in, like a batida version of Moodymann’s “Dem Young Sconies”. Corrosive as hell and begging for big speaker action, blasts of white noise seal the deal as this superior dancefloor destroyer. Finally, “Laranja” returns to the controlled chaos of first track, seemingly random drum artifacts flying through the mix and littered with fx. Through this chaos a mystic (possible India) flute line slowly makes itself audible. This is like Suns Of Arqa on crystal meth pop pickers! Frenzied drum programming meets spiritual flute raga…. mind blowing stuff indeed!
Piccadilly Records, October 2016

Unlike the Príncipe label’s core Afro-Portuguese artists, Niagara take cues from the European club scene. The trio’s house music remains deeply eccentric, though, its sonorities bright and its rhythms ramshackle. Their third EP for the label, São João Baptista, a scrawl of clapped-out drums and spidery guitars, highlights their idiosyncrasies. Sonically, the trio have found new ways to make the analogue and the electronic sit well together; stylistically, their mutant-funk tendencies are given freer rein.
On “Asa” they’re positively free range. The track’s kick drum foundation is solid, but the erratic conga hits, sour Rhodes chords and vintage funk lead seem to be following their own respective agendas. The results recall Miles Davis’s fusion era at its knottiest. “Laranja” uses live instrumentation less effectively. In this case it’s a flute, pirouetting coyly around whooshes of filtered synth. The drum machine holding it all together is swung to the point of stumbling, and the overall effect is aimless rather than oblique.
The rest of the EP is loopier but keeps the anarchic feel. “IV” focusses on the interplay of synth parts—tart chords, a squelchy bassline, wandering midrange melodies—that are slowly blurred together until the whole mix is a pungent smear. In the distance, a voice mumbles and shouts through a hailstorm of delay. “Amarelo” is a garden shed reboot of big-room techno. The bashing 4/4 is there, along with rising klaxon tones and snares that whip up cresting waves of white noise, but the guitar loops on top are janky as hell.

Resident Advisor, November 2016

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Unbenannt-2Unbenannt-4

Vinyl 12″ / Digital
Written and produced by DJ Nervoso;
Mastered by Tó Pinheiro da Silva, Artwork by Márcio Matos;
Released October, 2016;

VINYL/DIGITAL: Order from us

A1 – Vuto
A2 – Ah Ah
A3 – Avacs
B1 – 27aca
B2 – Djj
B3 – KUIA

PRESS RELEASE

We can’t stress enough the importance of finally releasing an EP by scene originator DJ Nervoso. This release features newer tracks alongside unreleased older (we should really say Classic) ones, demonstrating the level of perfection he attained early on. Nervoso is the main reason why DJ Marfox, DJ Firmeza and many others started deejaying and producing, hooked on his fiery DJ sets since they were barely in their teens, around 2001-2002.
He is well known for a bare bones approach to rhythm, working the basic hypnotic feel of pounding drums to mesmerizing effect, in his permanent quest to make people move. His sound is meant to unite, not divide, the dancefloor. Even before he started producing, Nervoso was quick to perceive that some people were alienated in parties where Angolan kuduro got played, for the simple reason they didn’t command the specific moves associated with the style or its variations. So his production focused on adapting the beats of this much-loved dance music, changing the codes for a more inclusive experience. Some call it techno.

Vinyl 12″; individually hand-painted, hand-stamped copies available in Portugal only.

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Para quem está activo agora na cena musical que gira em torno da Príncipe, DJ Nervoso começou tudo. Foi pouco depois do início do século, e as festas em que tocava tornaram-se lendárias na comunidade, conseguindo ele o privilégio de ser um dos raros DJs a ser requisitado para tocar em diferentes bairros. O nível de intensidade da sua música nem sempre foi bem compreendido, provocando por vezes alguma desordem nas festas. Mas para ele essa música sempre foi uma energia feliz, transbordante. Nervoso adaptou o padrão do kuduro angolano para poder tocar a batida sem alienar as pessoas que não sabiam dançar os passos certos associados ao género. Despiu a estrutura e, como se pode ouvir na sublime “27aca” (quarto clip de som), criou uma espécie de techno com base africana. Ouvimos algumas coisas de, por exemplo, DJ Firmeza e DJ Marfox e percebemos bem melhor o que eles querem dizer quando assumem a influência das batidas do Nervoso. Apesar dos anos e da autoridade, este é o primeiro EP em seu nome. Nervoso foi convidado a entrar na célebre compilação dos DJs Di Gueto em 2006, eles próprios influenciados por ele, juntando-se assim ao seu ídolo, mas a sua abordagem à produção sempre esteve mais ligada às festas em que ia tocar e não tanto ao desejo de reunir música para edições. Ele ri-se e diz que, normalmente, as suas faixas de que as pessoas gostam são as de que ele menos gosta. “Ah Ah” corre a um ritmo mais lento e tem a sua voz, em directo, a acompanhar a batida, parecendo ao mesmo tempo em esforço e alívio. Vão ouvir esta música poderosa feita na nossa terra, achamos que é importante.
Flur, October 2016

We can it on trust that when Príncipe say “We can’t stress enough the importance of finally releasing an EP by… DJ Nervoso” that they really mean it. As a DJ in Lisbon for days, his sets inspired DJ Marfox, DJ Firmeza and many more to take up DJing and production in their teens, so basically the guy deserves a drink from everyone who’s ever danced to their records.
Effectively a mutation of Angolan kuduro made to unite Lisbon’s mosaic of African, Latin and other heritages, DJ Nervoso’s sound is stripped to the bare bones and built to bang in the kinkiest, mesmerising style, putting the ‘floor thru its paces between the knotted funk of Vuto, the grinding dagger of Ah Ah and what sounds like the maddest Chicago jack track you’ve never heard in Avacs, with helplessly infectious stuff in 27aca, the tucked-up techno of Djj, and an outstanding freak called Kuia.
Like most other Príncipes 12”s, and the DJ Marfox compilation, the record is cut at 45rpm, meaning there’s a whole tier of 33rpm fun awaiting the DJs and dancers. TIP!

Boomkat, October 2016

A siren heralds the coming of first track, “Vuto,” which sashays forward with shuffling drums, guttural yelps, and a thick bass line. A shaker provides texture, the track pogoing gleefully, new rhythms appearing and dissolving. Much of the album operates in this modular style of propulsive, lucid minimalism. Nervoso generates drama by varnishing and stripping layers of syncopation and texture from his tracks, revealing works that have been sheared to the bone, sinew and rhythm replacing melody and flesh.
Second track “ah ah” best exemplifies Nervoso’s abraded approach to songwriting. It consists almost entirely of a spine-straightening snare crack, a loping kick, and Nervoso’s vocals. Audacious in its simplicity, it brims with ebullience, its dembow-like sway conveying a levity reserved for the hands of a master. The album’s other tracks hew more closely to recognizable kuduro structures, their skeletal forms morphing into kinked, juddering drum tracks (“djj”) and hypnotic, subterranean excursions (“27aca”). The drums on the latter are particularly mobile, flowing across it like the hands of a masseur, kneading and twisting around the beat, travelling alongside it for a measure before surging off into the distance.
The whole album is suffused with this nomadic, kinetic energy, the sense that, at any second, a track could veer off course, picking up momentum as it launches itself into the ether. One imagines DJ Nervoso tinkering away at his computer, carefully crafting his sonic automata, installing gears and levers, drums and claps, before filling them with current and watching as they duck and weave, jab and feint. Swaying from side to side, these quasi-humanoid tracks — all torso and limb — topple over and right themselves in ever quickening loops, their faces distorted by Nervoso’s pulsing, giddy momentum.
These are virulent, mutant dance tracks, and Nervoso their Dr. Frankenstein. When I saw him go back-to-back with DJ Marfox at Unsound, the sense of joy in the room was palpable; the two producers gleefully looking over each other’s shoulder as they selected the next rhythmic assemblage to unload on the febrile crowd. In a sense, they were staging Nervoso’s original intervention, transmitting kuduro across the generations to kids hungry for something to dance to. There’s pleasure to be found in the contamination.

Tiny Mix Tapes, October 2016

He’s one of the most underrated DJs on the planet, and these 5 grooves tell you everything you need to know. There’s hardly anything to them- just sets of Fruity Loops drum patterns marching on and on in with zero fucking about. He’s barely bothered to process his hits, there’s a minimum happening at any point, and somehow the result is hard, knocking dance music that could wake the dead. If you’re getting sick of fussy production and tracks built from tricks more than ideas, Nervoso is the antidote.
The Ransom Note, November 2016

In the near mythical folklore surrounding Lisbon’s Principe Discos, a DIY label celebrating the raw urban electronic Kuduro, batida, kizomba, funaná and Afro house influenced music that evolved in Lisbon’s outer suburbs, Nervoso stands tall. Whilst Marfox is generally credited with being the main instigator of the scene, Nervoso was there back in the day influencing the likes of Marfox and appearing on the 2006 compilation DJ’s Do Guetto (which you can download for free here) He also appeared on the 3rd volume of Warp’s Cargaa series with a dense relentless slab of conflicting percussion on ‘Buzizz,’ yet it’s somewhat of a surprise that now, so far down the track we’re finally seeing his debut solo outing.
Nervoso likes his percussion, and doesn’t need much else, as the six songs here, clocking in at 20 odd minutes in total, are wonky unsettling rhythmic workouts with minimal extraneous ingredients. Occasionally there’s a hilarious repetitive vocal sample saying “Ah Ah,” such as on ‘Ah Ah’, a bit of bass here and a siren there, but in the main, it’s percussion, sampled hand percussion and electronic beats. Most of his sounds feel culled from a techno music sample library, though whilst Nervoso is no doubt tipping his hat to this world, his stuttering beats, odd cadences and peculiar time signatures, alongside colliding, near incongruous rhythmic patterns keep everything joyfully off kilter and uncertain.
The most interesting piece is the final ‘Kuia,’ and it’s also his also his most diverse, and though it barely gets above a canter, the beats evolve, swing, and even the implementation of some strange pitches of sound that are vaguely reminiscent of farmyard animals from kids keyboards still manages to end up with this really seductive stilted groove. Like much of Nervoso’s music it almost feels like a challenge he’s given himself, by beginning with a cold difficult near grooveless snare, then it’s up to him to slowly breathe life into the track. And it’s incredible how Nervoso and many of his compatriots seem to be able to make challenging fascinating and unexpected dance music from the simplest of ingredients.
This is the kind of music that makes you wonder if you’re playing it at the wrong speed, it’s a deconstruction of electronic music, where it has been disassembled and pieced back together a little wrong, leaving the listener feeling more than a little bit, confused, energized and Nervoso.

Cyclic Defrost, November 2016

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P015 FRONT cd label

CD / Digital
Written and produced by the respective artists;
Mastered by Tó Pinheiro da Silva, Artwork by Márcio Matos;
Released July, 2016;

CD / DIGITAL: Order from us

1. DJ Nunex & DJ Famifox – Intro Ludhiana (Indian Music)
2. DJ CiroFox – Moments
3. DJ Lycox – Dor Do Koto
4. DJ Danifox feat Deejay Ary – Dorme Bem
5. DJ TL – Deep House
6. DJ Lilocox – La Party
7. DJ Marfox – Swaramgami
8. DJ Firmeza – Tungada Rija
9. K30 – Hora do FL
10. Niagara – Alexandrino
11. Nídia Minaj – Festive
12. DJ Nigga Fox – Lua
13. DJ Dadifox – What Percusion
14. Babaz Fox & DJ Bebedera – Tarraxei No Box
15. DJ Maboku – Ruba Soldja
16. DJ Safari – Tempo Do Xakazulu
17. Puto Anderson – Domingo De Paz
18. Puto Márcio – Não Queiras Ser
19. DJ NinOo & DJ Wayne – Cabrito
20. Puto Adriano – Estilo Underground
21. DJ Nervoso – Lunga Lunga
22. DJ Adifox – Penso Em Ti
23. Blacksea Não Maya – Melodias Rádicas

PRESS RELEASE

“As to strategy, we learned in the struggle; some people think that we adopted a foreign method, or something like this. Our principle is that each people have to create its own struggle. Naturally, we have something to learn from the experience that can be adapted to the real situation of the country. But we bettered our struggle in the culture of our people, in the realities of our country, historical, economical, cultural, etc, and we developed the struggle, supported by our people which is the first and main condition: the support of the people.”

Amílcar Cabral, interview to Cameron Duodu/Radio-Ghana at Accra, 1973

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Assim de repente. A Príncipe faz um CD com 23 faixas nunca editadas, um feliz encontro entre nomes já estabelecidos e outros emergentes ou mais ocultos. Uma das coisas que torna este disco tão especial é praticamente contar a história desta cena: a inclusão de DJ Nervoso, reconhecido como o originador do som que se produz hoje por incontáveis produtores de quarto, DJ Marfox, que pegou no testemunho de forma incrivelmente consequente, a geração Piquenos DJs Di Gueto e todos os outros nomes ainda mais recentes, tudo isto faz uma narrativa resumida mas bem certa dos sons que agora já não se pode negar pertencerem a Lisboa. Momentos sentimentais como “Moments” de Cirofox, “Não Queiras Ser” de Puto Márcio ou “Penso Em Ti” de Adifox parecem contrastar com Danifox & Ary ou Puto Adriano, por exemplo, pequenos testemunhos de uma exploração que continua sem nome definido. Quase obrigatoriamente, quando se conta esta história, teria de aparecer “La Party” (Lilocox), na sua qualidade de hino nos sets de CDM e popularidade disparada por destaque na Mixmag. O estatuto icónico desta faixa é fácil de absorver com a mera audição. O título do CD aplica-se na perfeição, ainda que “Levis” sugira algo menos fogoso, mas reparem como a grafia da palavra recontextualiza a realidade. A música, essa então redesenha-a. Conhecendo bem o percurso da Príncipe, são também perfeitas as palavras de Amílcar Cabral que compõem o press release do disco.
Flur, Julho 2016

Frankly, Lisbon’s Príncipe are just showing off with this fever-inducing 23-track showcase of their full crew in heaviest effect; including stacks of label debuts and strong showings from their core players.
Mambos Levis D’Outro Mundo is accompanied by a quote from Guinea-Bissauan and Cape Verdean liberationist Amílcar Cabral, which points to the label’s social-democratic ideals.
Within that spirit of independence and celebrating the reality of cultural struggle, the set approaches the ‘floor – an unparalleled site for cataylsing cultural expression – from myriad angles, flipping from wild-eyed, raving futurism in DJ Lycox’s Dor Do Koto to the aerobic mysticism of Swaramgami from the scene’s pivotal producer DJ Marfox, to whacked-out techno by Niagara, whilst also making enchanting introductions to the breezed out roll of Dadifox or the Gqom-like darkside hustle of DJ Safari’s Tempo Do Xakazulu, and the romantic flex of DJ Ninoo & DJ Wayne. Basically there’s loads of reasons you need this lot in your life. Highly recommended!

Boomkat, July 2016

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P014 FRONT label_12inch_100mm_V092012.indd

Vinyl 12″ / Digital
Written and produced by DJ Marfox;
Mastered by Tó Pinheiro da Silva, Artwork by Márcio Matos;
Released April, 2016;

VINYL/DIGITAL: Order from us

A1 – 2685
A2 – Unsound
A3 – Tarraxo Everyday
B1 – Kassumbula
B2 – Cobra Preta
B3 – B 18

PRESS RELEASE

Marfox and Príncipe have come a long and transformative way since his (and ours) debut with the appropriately titled EP “Eu Sei Quem Sou” in late 2011. The raw and more minimal sound of the producer’s formative years has mutated into a complex web of influences and new sounds. His scope has enlarged and yet Marfox retains the most crucial quality: he does not forget his roots.

You will notice differences in such tracks as “Unsound” (reflecting the festival in Poland where things really started to heat up), with its metallic harshness and even the bright, shiny, retro-futurist “Tarraxo Everyday”; also, “Kassumbula” and “Cobra Preta” both display a similar kind of sci-fi dissonace we can’t quite place our finger on.

Marfox’s musical evolution has been a staggering and beautiful process to behold. More skills bring more thrills and the overall feel of “Chapa Quente” is that of a perpetual chase scene on a New Lisbon constantly reorganized by the pull of different cultures, something that resonates with Marfox’s upbringing in the now demolished shantytown of Quinta da Vitória, where he came of age among neighbors who had emigrated from India, Pakistan, São Tomé e Príncipe or Cabo Verde, admittedly having informed his sound aesthetics and practice.

One stop only to catch some Sun (“Tarraxo Everyday”) but all the rest runs faster than you and us. Godspeed.

Vinyl 12″; individually hand-painted, hand-stamped copies available in Portugal only.

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Much of the music released via Principe is rough ‘n’ ready. While still wildly frenetic, Marfox’s productions are more polished and pumped with soundsystemdominating kick than tracks made by his Portugese peers. ‘Quente’ opens with the snake-charmed ‘2985-2686’ and bursts into staunch drum workout ‘Unsound’. ‘Tarraxo Everyday’ is a beautiful rendering of the Angolan genre and a moment of 100bpm respite, before the tempo rises with the exhilarating ‘Kassumbula’ and ‘Cobra Preta’. It closes with ‘B 18’ and its perfect storm of percussion. Essential. 9/10
Mixmag, March 2016

“2685,” the lead single on DJ Marfox’s first EP in nearly two years, begins with a bright, buzzing synthesizer that’s not too far from the sound of “Terra Batida,” the triumphant opener on 2014’s Lucky Punch EP. Between that screaming lead and the rapid-fire four-on-the-floor kick drum that accompanies it, it briefly appears that we may have stumbled into a Lowlands rave, circa 1995—a long way from the slinky, Lusophone-disaporic batida sounds we’re accustomed to hearing from the Lisbon producer. Don’t be fooled by the fake-out, though, because we’re soon thrust into a polyrhythmic maelstrom as turbulent and as richly textured as anything he’s done to date.
The centerpiece of it all is a careening flute melody that surges up and down the scale, practically tripping over its own tail in the process. It sounds vaguely South Asian in origin—perhaps a callback to Marfox’s roots in Lisbon’s Quinta da Vitória, a former shantytown, now converted into cement government housing, where immigrants from São Tomé e Príncipe and Cabo Verde lived alongside Indians, Pakistanis, and Hindus from Mozambique. And then there are the drums: rolling, ricocheting, going full tilt—threading tightly knotted triplets through loosely woven syncopations, and answering low, clanging toms with the antic chatter of small, leathery hand drums. Toward the end of the track, a distant voice cries out as if across a vast chasm, and you can only agree; few songs feel more like being catapulted through the air at tremendous velocity.

Pitchfork, March 2016

Dizzyingly strong DJ Marfox gear marking a stellar return to Príncipe; the label he kicked off with his debut release, the Eu Sei Quem Sou EP back in 2011.
As the New Lisbon scene’s godfather, Marfox is responsible for inspiring and rallying a wave of thrilling, yung new producers from the city to grow their roots into a proudly unique dance sound that’s subsequently become coveted by DJs, dancers and labels far from their sunny ghetto.
In the best sense, we get the feeling that Príncipe have been biding their time for a new DJ Marfox release, and that foresight pays off dividends with the colourful, head-rush styles of Chapa Quente, which are given perfect context in the wake of amazing 12”s by Nidia Minaj, Normal Nada, and DJ Nigga Fox, et al.
From the ratchet flutes and spring-loaded battery of 2685 to the industrialised croak and galvanised percussion of Unsound – so titled after formative experience at the Polish festival – he allows a lush moment of romance with the slow and sweet Tarraxo Everyday but the energy levels are peaked again with the wavy Kassumbula and the tendon-sparking Cobra Preta, whilst the trickling marimba melody of B 18 pulls up his central and west African heritage and and a melting pot of syncretic influence soaked up from his origins in the now-demolished Quinta da Vitória shantytown. Highly recommended!

Boomkat, April 2016

Lisbon has flipped the beats you know the bird. Instead it’s pumping out the sounds of a long and torrid musical affair between Portugal and Angola. Since the early ‘90s batida is the sound: high bpm and highly syncopated, bonding house and techno with the complex rhythms of Africa. You may have heard a little bit of it since the turn of the millennium, through those few groups like Buraka Som Sistema, smuggling it out to the wider world. Largely, however, batida has stayed hidden -especially its harder, ghetto-fied versions- not for general consumption. Nonetheless, one label -Principe Discos- has been pushing it and many other unusual sounds around the world, to anyone who’ll listen, and at the top of their roster is DJ Marfox.
Marlon Silva, the man who is Marfox has been producing since the early 2000s and it’s been a long road to where he is now. Portugal is a country with serious ghettos: they’re racially, socio-economically, culturally and even geographically isolated from mainstream Portuguese society. It’s one of the considerable successes of Marfox and Principe that they’ve been able to negotiate a meeting between the insular ghetto music of Lisbon and a wider audience. More importantly, they’ve done it with the authenticity of the music and its community intact.
It’s meant the going has been slow -Marfox only released a record on Principe three years after originally hooking up with them- but steady, with a stream of EPs appearing over the years. 2014’s Lucky Punch had the biggest impact, leading to more press plaudits, remixing duties and attention from labels like Warp.
Marfox’s latest, Chapa Quente, or ‘hot plate’ bangs with little respite. Opener and single 2685 builds over raving synths with layered drums until what I think is a fula flute loop undulates across. It would be all mysterious but Marfox chops it and the percussion savagely until everything feels like it’s been dashed to pieces. The almost liquefied remains are poured into a number of different rhythmic figures, spanning the distance between Euro and African dancefloors.
Unsound, by contrast, eschews any such gimmickry, pursuing a repetitive bassy roar, letting tinny, syncopated snares fall into the gaps. It’s positively industrial and I admire its simple, brutal effectiveness. Tarraxo Everyday is the only chill cut in the collection and tarraxo is the style it takes: a sauntering but rhythmically complex beat, which usually focuses on rhythm at the expense of most melody, though this one plays against type via long, lilting synth melodies.
The back half of the EP steadily builds the burn back up again. Kassumbala lassoes its bleating and bubbling treble synths in over a tightly syncopated beat. Cobra Preta quickly accelerates to a breakneck pace and is carnivalesque, complete with sampled whistles and yawps; the side-to-side motion of the rhythm evokes the titular reptile. The soca sounding snares of closing number, B18 maintain the breathless, carnival atmosphere to the final moment.
Chapa Quente might be modestly sized, but it’s a very satisfying piece of work. Selfishly, I almost hope that the EP doesn’t continue Marfox’s rise to global prominence. How good is this? I don’t want to hear a million producers reproducing it till the inspiration is completely sucked dry. Marfox and Principe only work in little increments though. Their successes are slow even if they are increasingly assured – so I suppose we’ve still got some time together to look forward to. I probably shouldn’t tell you, but you might want to check this out too.

4ZZZFM, April 2016

The opening track of Chapa Quente, 2685 couldn’t be more different from its predecessor, it begins straight out of a club, all hifi rave sheen, 4/4 beats, handclaps, and it’s difficult not to freak out a little, and ponder what the intervening years and surge in popularity done to Marfox. But these thoughts dissipate as quickly as they arrive as he continues to layer the ingredients, the frenetic polyrhythmic hand percussion and a hyperactive flute helping the piece to evolve into an overwhelming, somewhat woozy and frenzied slab of inspired off kilter dance music. This is forward thinking club music. Make no mistake though, it’s still very much Marfox and it’s pedal to the metal, and with its humour and hat tipping to rave culture it demonstrates that Marfox’s focus has expanded outwards. Perhaps the title of the second track, the wonky reggae inflected ‘Unsound’, might give away how far his focus has shifted, referencing his time at the Polish festival. Yet this is not a bad thing, as there is no way that these two pieces and indeed the remainder of the EP could’ve come from any other artist in or outside Portugal. Marfox consumes reference points and integrates them into his own musical world like few others.
‘Cobra Preta’ (Black Snake) is another balls to the floor percussion workout, with an insistent whistle and repetitive vocal sample it’s pure dynamics that you can only imagine being grist for his live show. In fact the dancefloor seems to be very much a focus for Marfox, yet it’s his unique ability to seamlessly integrate the hand percussion or marimba samples, the wooden hits and rumbles with these clipped insistent and raw electronics that is entirely unique and unparalleled. The final piece, the stilted wooden ‘B 18’ seems like its locked in a groove yet it expands almost miraculously outwards and before long we’re back on the dancefloor, albeit with strange almost tribal ingredients. Yet this is the miracle of Marfox. His ability to shift time and space is unsurpassed. We knew he was one to watch in 2011, yet now it’s 2016 and I wouldn’t dare my eyes or ears away for a minute. Something important is happening.

Cyclic Defrost, April 2016

It’s well established that no-one does it quite like DJ Marfox. The Portuguese maverick is the figurehead of a style that is as unpredictable as it is fresh, alongside contemporaries such as Nidia Minaj and DJ Nigga Fox. Príncipe has of course been instrumental in helping bring this hyped up sound out of Lisbon and to the wider world, and after inaugurating the label with his own debut release back in 2011 Marfox returns to serve up another six tracks of madcap party ammunition. From brazen industrial drum clangs at wonky tilts to looped up Moroccan flute and delicate synth lines, you never know which way Marfox is going to turn as he presents his own vision of electronic music. It veers from the delightful mellow nature of “Tarraxo Everyday” to the frenetic peak time stomp of “2685”, and the diversity of sounds on offer surely point to the maturing in the sound of this always-interesting producer.
Juno Plus, May 2016

Quem presume que as fervilhantes produções de DJ Marfox e da Príncipe Discos tendem para o monotemático deverá ficar esclarecido do contrário com Chapa Quente. É só entrar na viagem. “B 18” forma um coro de cascatas rítmicas que vai engrossando com o correr da faixa. A batida chama o samba e ele vem, e de um quase nada se gera uma peça que aos dois minutos já corre densa, num alarido metálico. “Cobra Preta” recebe a deixa e eleva o EP às imediações do motim com a introdução, uma ponderada peça de cada vez, de voz, apito asmático, ferros, ventos sintéticos. “Kassumbula” é o momento em que o disco parece prestes a tropeçar na sua própria corrida, recuperando o embalo quando amparado por uma semelhança de batimento cardíaco. Tal como o género musical melífluo e descompressor aludido no título já deixa suspeitar, “Tarraxo Everyday” permite recuperar fôlego, num ambiente plástico varrido por um floreado de sintetizador mentolado, abrindo caminho para o ritmo sujo e os graves quase no vermelho de “Unsound”, que varrem o espaço à bala, abeirando-se da estética industrial mas sem tolher o calor. O melhor vem no fim: “2685” faz um upgrade das alusões sambistas de “B 18” e dispara em intensidade (sim, era possível), fazendo o cerco a uma revoada de flautas psicadélicas e a pontuais descargas de percussões hipnóticas. Uma apoteose que merecia ir bem para lá destes quase cinco minutos.
Por entre as gotas deste aguaceiro, DJ Marfox não perde o controlo nem a clareza das ideias. A tentação da abstracção fica à porta: por caminhos diversos, as seis faixas de Chapa Quente são blocos coloridos dançáveis, um reencontro exuberante e pluralista com a editora onde se estreou há cinco anos.

Time Out Lisboa / Porto, Maio 2016

When they head out on the road, DJ Marfox and his peers in Lisbon’s Afro-Portuguese club music scene find themselves in a curious position: they’ve mostly never heard of the artists they share a bill with. When I visited the city in 2014, I was told that the group’s exposure to Western dance music was almost non-existent. Marfox, for instance, was aware of Carl Cox, and that was pretty much it. It’s therefore inevitable that as the likes of Marfox, Nigga Fox and Firmeza become internationally established, the flood of new stuff they’re exposed to will influence their music.
This shows up on Chapa Quente, Marfox’s latest EP for the pioneering Lisbon label Príncipe, and he names a track after one of his experiences. In 2013, he and Nigga Fox played Unsound in Poland, their first on-the-ground exposure to Western club music. On “Unsound,” Marfox paints his storming kuduro canvas with darker colours, no doubt responding to the techno acts he caught at the festival. It’s a track that’s probably been useful in his DJ sets as a moment of gloom, but it’s among the least distinctive things he’s released. “2685” is much better. Through a buzzing synth lead it initially evokes ’90s raves, but a flute line and an onslaught of percussion flip it into one of Marfox’s hardest hitting batida jams.
The EP’s remaining tracks feel less informed by Marfox’s travels, but they show his sound developing in other ways. I thought the synth melody on “Tarraxo Everyday” was so good that it had to be a sample (the label said it isn’t). You can play it after the other romantic tarraxo track in Marfox’s catalogue, 2014’s “Heartbeat,” to hear how far he’s progressed with this style. Parts of “Cobra Preta” sound familiar, but there are a couple of elements, like the jagged little synth, that swing the tone of the track towards something much stranger. On “Kassumbula,” Marfox creates a breakdown by sweeping a filter across the master channel, adding an effective new trick to his arsenal, and on “B18,” he overloads the upper mid-range with kalimba and spacey zips. Not every genre will be suitable for absorption into the Lisbon sound, but on Chapa Quente Marfox shows that its expansion will throw up intriguing new shapes.

Resident Advisor, May 2016

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P013 FRONT label_12inch_100mm_V092012.indd

Vinyl 12″ / Digital
Written and produced by Normal Nada;
Mastered by Tó Pinheiro da Silva, Artwork by Normal Nada + Márcio Matos;
Released December, 2015;

VINYL/DIGITAL: Order from us

A1 – Aurabi
A2 – Nubai (Wo lo lol)
A3 – KAKARAK 1
A4 – KAKARAK 2
B1 – Ritmo Thoth
B2 – Azouse-1
B3 – Tarraxinha Da Calopsita v2

PRESS RELEASE

Elusive underground metakuduro legend from the Lisbon suburban area, Normal Nada, a.k.a. Qraqmaxter CiclOFF, a.k.a. Erre Mente, .. (every past moniker is like a shed skin he kissed goodbye), is a special kind of cosmogonical pirate exploring chemical balanced regimes of wake – sleep and the seductive dimensions between both.

“Ola
Nao tenho nome.
Tenho…Deus.
Filho de Deus nascido no Ceu criado como Humano.

A minha nacionalidade
ee Humana, sou o filho do primeiro ser “Humanos”,
meu Pai ee o teu Pai e Pai de toda a gente que
esta no mundo.

Sabio Rei como Sol Leao.
Recebe a mensagem. Musica da felicidade.
O album foi feito enquanto treinava e
passava pela “fase” da transmutacao cerebral.
Melhor.”

Vinyl 12″, first pressing is individually hand-painted, hand-stamped.

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Funny thing is Príncipe Discos description of him as a “metakuduro legend from Lisbon“. This couldn’t be more deliciously correct. His never ending voyage exploring beyond musical limits fits perfectly the use of that “meta” prefix. He shares a common ground with other artists affiliated to the imprint like Nigga Fox, the use of acid dissonances, melodies that brings dance till trance ecstasy the same way it shows urban, terrain and melancholic use of hope. Normal Nada is back and he even says it on first track “Nubai” where you hear a mantric voice “voltei, voltei, voltei“.
Lacroixx, November 2015

Normal Nada aparece na Príncipe como um rocket lançado de uma terra de ninguém. A sua visão tecnóide de África cola com formas de trance e techno muito fora do Continente, e o brilho dos pratos + sons mitra do mundo digital lembram um pouquinho certas coisas editadas pela Irdial nos 90s. A batida, neste disco, parece seguir regras diferentes das que encontramos em discos anteriores da Príncipe. “Nubai (Wo lo lol)” tem a vantagem extra da voz íntima de NN junto ao microfone a mandar dicas e a anunciar “eu tou de moca” (podia ser com “k”, se calhar é). As duas partes de “KAKARAK” juntam-se num bolo de samba mecânico, Neubauten em Chicago, qualquer coisa assim. Doido. Salto para a mitologia com “Ritmo Thoth”, um house seco para puxar a divindade mais para perto. Acontecem ainda várias outras coisas, neste EP, mas, no final, “Tarraxinha Da Calopsita” atira um “ai é?” a todos nós com o ritmo meloso mexido a pio numa espécie de quadro digital de pintar nas mãos de um intuitivo. As figuras são todas hiper-artificiais e coloridas, o resultado sugere, vagamente, anos 80, mas talvez de outro século ou, pelo menos, de outra dimensão.
Flur, December 2015

Already making an appearance on the third installment of Warp’s Cargaa series, here we see the Lisbonite let off seven wild cuts in the most untamed outing of the label yet. Opening with the plodding Latin groove and shimmering dub chords of ‘Aurabi’, Nada ups tempo to the 150bpm club-banging merriment of ‘Nubai (Wo Lo Lol)’ before descending into the brutal, two-pronged industrial gyrations of ‘KAKARAK’. The flipside hosts more jumped up latin / techno amalgamation, first with the minimalistic ‘Ritmo Thoth’, followed by the dreamscape melodica of ‘Azouse-1’ finally rounding off with the chirpy, ambient lullaby ‘Tarraxinha Da Calopsita v2’.
Bleep, December 2015

Yet another blinder from Príncipe and Lisbon’s enviably talented pool of producers: the solo debut of whacked out and infectious metakuduro from Normal Nada. From what we’ve encountered so far, this is Príncipe’s maddest release, effortlessly covering everything from nagging futurist folk dance in Aurabi to a string of giddily joyful, tumultuous 150bpm bangers, plus the techno/funky-compatible aerodynamics of Azouse-1 and what sounds like Richard D. James-era AFX doing Afro-latin style in Tarraxinha Da Calopsita v2. Recommended!
Boomkat, December 2015

Naturally, a lot can be said of Príncipe Discos and identity. By their own account, Príncipe is a record label “fully dedicated to releasing 100% real contemporary dance music coming out of [Lisbon], its suburbs, projects & slums. New sounds, forms and structures with their own set of poetics and cultural identity.” Howbeit, among the resounding collective resonance of Príncipe as a whole, Normal Nada suitably embodies a mode of thought characterized by the rise of a meta-cognitive representation of the self as a network of identities.
While according to Príncipe, Normal Nada’s music explores the “chemical balanced regimes of wake – sleep and the seductive dimensions between both,” the aptly titled Transmutação Cerebral (Cerebral Transmutation) can also be read according to the changing of the intellect’s condition and the emergence of the self as a system of interrelated elements — in the case of Normal Nada, a “meta-kuduro” legend.
Indeed, Normal Nada’s universal identity draws in afro-trance, zouk, tarraxinha, ragga, kuduro, dancehall, kizomba, and Baltimore club, to name just a few. “KAKARAK 1” and “KAKARAK 2” sound as if placing an ear to the actual inner workings, as opposed to the sonic output, with an underlying hum, mechanical noise, and intermittent cuts in its current. The emphatic “Ritmo Thoth” is compact, but equally spacious and reverberant, with a pitched-up vocal chant — again, Nada’s tools are audible and infectious. Closing track “Tarraxinha da Calopsita” is the ballad of the EP, a simple, light, sentimental track, with the romantic character of tarraxinha.
While hailing from the Lisbon suburban area, Normal Nada’s mode of thought also corresponds to a decentralization or deterritorialization of the self. The EP’s Bandcamp page gives further, mystic indication: a text in Portuguese about not having a name, being of human nationality, and that the album was made in passage of the phase of brain transmutation. Príncipe describe Normal Nada as “a special kind of cosmogonical pirate” — for me, it’s more in the geological sense of a “pirate stream,” diverting into its own flow the multiform headwaters of alternative currents.

Tiny Mixtapes, January 2016

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P012 FRONT label_12inch_100mm_V092012.indd

Vinyl 12″ / Digital
Written and produced by Blacksea Não Maya;
Mastered by Tó Pinheiro da Silva, Artwork by Márcio Matos;
Released December, 2015;

VINYL/DIGITAL: Order from us

A1 – DJ KOLT & DJ NORONHA Batidongoo
A2 – DJ PERIGOSO MacoBayou
A3 – DJ KOLT & DJ PERIGOSO Assabakuse
B1 – DJ JOKER, DJ KOLT, DJ NORONHA & DJ PERIGOSO We Send This
B2 – DJ KOLT & DJ PERIGOSO Perseguição
B3 – DJ KOLT & DJ PERIGOSO Comandante Em Chefe

PRESS RELEASE

Kolt (23), Noronha (22) and Perigoso (18) return to Príncipe with a whole EP. BNM are based to the south of Lisbon, across the river Tejo. The crew started as a family affair with Kolt and his uncle DJ Joker around 2008. Noronha (Kolt’s brother) and Perigoso joined a year later. While Joker since then pursued other avenues in life, all three remaining members committed themselves to the game they had chosen when still dancing to the deejays they admired: be the best deejays and producers they could be.

The record opens with “Batidongoo”, an earlier track by Kolt and Noronha. Tense, spanking percussion and electronic tones, sounds like slower funaná crossed with the rudiments of kuduro; we think this one opens new ground;
Next up, DJ Perigoso drops “Macobayou”, a fast, futuristic batida track with plenty of drums to hang on to (or lose yourself to);
“Assabakuse” keeps the pace and adds emotion in the form of clipped guitar, the actual ruler of melody in here. It becomes irresistible in no time;
Side B on the vinyl version begins by spreading pure love. “We Send This” does sound like a gift to us listeners. Closer to house in tempo, this one reflects classic African music, sure, but also a synthetic, modern type of R&B sound in its layers of ambience. Short, direct, beautiful;
“Perseguição” (translates as “Chase”) soundtracks a run through the jungle, over fallen trees, branches, around big rocks and in sight of wild animals. What a ride, we tell you;
“Comandante Em Chefe” has an ondulating melodic hook occupying the whole duration of the song. Again, like slowed down funaná accordion and it rises clearly above the usual complex percussive layers. It later gains even more artificial tones and echoes. Alien rumba for ballroom dance matinées.

Vinyl 12″, first pressing is individually hand-painted, hand-stamped.

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“Batidongoo” já anda por aí há um tempo, não apenas como single de avanço para este EP mas como uma das faixas para nós clássicas de Blacksea Não Maya. Batida feita a sul de Lisboa, com ideias muito próprias e especiais que distinguem a crew de DJs Perigoso, Kolt e Noronha do resto do fogo Príncipe que temos tido o privilégio de mostrar. Perigoso é o seu nome em pessoa, durante todo o tempo de “MacoBayou”, uma batida rápida sempre em avanço. Em “Assabakuse” ele junta-se com Kolt e a viragem mostra uma guitarra cortada essencial para a força melódica disto aqui. Não é o único elemento melódico, mas é – digamos – a voz da música. Bonito. Felicidade mesmo, no entanto, chega com “We Send This” e a família toda reunida em forma de coração para o mundo. Impossível. “Perseguição” mete batucada intensa e cinemática; “Comandante Em Chefe” fecha a apresentação com um dos mais complexos, bizarros e sintéticos jogos melódicos (em forma de “acordeão”) da equipa. Fica no ouvido como qualquer refrão potente que se escuta na rádio.
Flur, December 2015

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P011 FRONT label_12inch_100mm_V092012.indd

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

PRESS RELEASE

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.

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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

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