Words by Lisa Blanning
Produced as the soundtrack to an unrealized installation, “15 Barras” is a 15-minute track pressed as a one-sided 12-inch. That’s different to how Rogério Brandão, AK DJ Nigga Fox, usually does things. Brandão often has an eye on the dance floor, but “15 Barras” is more exploratory. Followers will be familiar with its elements—chopped vocals, tense percussion and a stripped-down sensibility—but there are also unexpected sounds, like noisy passages that swell alongside loops and droning strings.
The piece’s most interesting aspect is its movement through at least four distinct passages. The first and shortest consists of vocals and synth hits, and could be the intro of one of his club tracks. But instead of kuduro syncopation, “15 Barras” evolves into a drumless acid cut. It then eases into an anxious, rhythmic, cinematic jumble, which transforms into a playful, rickety dub with a clanking beat. “15 Barras” may not have been presented as originally envisioned, but it’s provided an outlet for Brandão to stretch out as an artist.
Words by Nick Boyd
Sequenced vocal clips collide to become a chant while a consistent gurgle builds below. There’s a steady sense of certainty that emerges from the acid. Voices of the crowd interject and the hustle and bustle rises like the beginning of Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up only here the crowd’s interjections distort, repeat, and swell. Time and time again, natural noises turn ever-present through repetition and manipulation. An eerie tone becomes a feature, underlining the groundswell of the crowd and finally a strain of natural percussion – bongos – drill into the scene and are looped and repeated endlessly. Finally a less than dynamic descent from the crushing crowd of the climax.
The result is a near sixteen minute exemplification of what label Principe calls “100% real contemporary dance music.” 15 Barras is a controlled vision, complete in its scope and execution that is an absolute joy to experience. It’s communication is clear and its effect is actualized, perhaps sooner than the length of the track infers. Miles Davis’ On the Corner via a Windows computer, DJ Nigga Fox’s latest manages to be anxiety inducing and soothing simultaneously as it confounds and reassures the listener with ease and poise.
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.