Tag Archives: Robert Barry

Edição de Maio de 2015.
May 2015 issue.

Wire Cargaa_P009

By Robert Barry

Over the last few years, thanks partly to the patronage of the Unsound festival and Philip Sherburne’s columns for Spin, a scene that was once confined largely to the clubs and housing projects of the Portuguese capital has begun trickling out across Europe. With this first of two compilations on Warp, that wild and wigged out cat is leaping determinedly out of the bag. Aggressive yet playful, rhythmically tumultuous yet infectiously danceable, the five tracks gathered on the first volume of Cargaa bear comparison to early grime – all clattering FruityLoops beats and syncopated square waves bum rushing the stage with the pent-up energy of overstretched rubber. In place of grime’s reggae connections, however, Lisbon’s young producers supplement Luso-African dance genres like Angolan batida and Cape Verdean funaná.
“Take Off” by DJ Marfox kicks things off with a Latin clave rhythm, followed by a series of progressively more urgent sirens and tom toms until a four-to-the-floor beat drops with saucer-eyed gusto. The two standout tracks, however, are a little more laid back, though just as intense. DJ Lycox’s “Good Wine” drafts fragments of parping sax and female vocal cooing, as if from some late 1980s slow jam, over a beat so rattling and off-kilter that it sounds like a bag of percussion thrown down a flight of stairs. DJ Nigga Fox’s “Lumi” dispenses with almost everything bar a cascade of cinematic sound effects and a set of rhythms so heavily swung as to teeter on the brink of collapse. “Lumi” first turned up on Nigga Fox’s SoundCloud page two years ago, around the time of his first EP on the Lisbon label Principe Discos.
This month Principe drop his second 12″, Noite E Dias (Night And Day). These latest four tracks see the Angolan born producer getting hi-fi, with
the thunderous timpani and whooping synth-flute of final track “De Leve” even recalling the widescreen exotica of Les Baxter. Elsewhere, “Tio Kiala” finds Nigga Fox stretching his rave muscles with quick fire acid squelches and hoover synths over hardcore snare shots. “Um Ano” and
“Apocalipsiii” are closer to the loose-limbed minimalism of his previous record, but with far more layers of textural, polyrhythmic complexity. Aside from this careening syncopation, what sets Nigga Fox’s tracks apart is his deft manipulation of space – one moment claustrophobically boxed in, a second later we’re sent drifting through yawning chasms.


Robert Barry falou connosco, com DJ Marfox e DJ Nigga Fox, em Santa Apolónia, numa fugaz visita a Lisboa a partir do Barreiro, onde acompanhou o Out.Fest. Leiam em baixo um excerto do que ele escreveu para a FACT ou cliquem no título para aceder ao artigo completo.

Robert Barry talked to us, DJ Marfox and DJ Nigga Fox, in Santa Apolonia, during a fleeting Lisbon raid coming from Barreiro, where he was covering Out.Fest. Read an excerpt of what he wrote for FACT below or click the title for the full, expansive feature.


Words By Robert Barry

As far back as he can remember, Marlon Silva always wanted to be a DJ.
As a child, growing up in the high-rise estates of Bairro da Portela on the outskirts of Lisbon, he would watch his father and older cousin set up for the neighbourhood parties. His cousin was the DJ, mixing Luso-African genres like semba and kizomba with The Beatles and whatever else would prove popular with the ever-demanding crowds of dancers. His father owned the sound system. Today, Marlon can walk around the projects and everyone knows who he is. “Hey!” the kids shout as they see him pass, “DJ Marfox!”

At 25, Marfox is already seen as an elder statesman of the burgeoning Lisbon scene. His name comes from a Nintendo game – Star Fox, a blocky 3D outer space shoot-em-up for the SNES – that he was addicted to as a teenager. By way of tribute, many of the younger producers on the scene have similar names: Karfox, Liofox, Dadifox, Nigga Fox. Marfox calls his music “free”, unbeholden to any style, be it African, European, or American. But its origins lie in the hothouse atmosphere of Lisbon’s noites africanas on the edges of the city, where West African zouk rubs up against Brazilian pagode and commercial r’n’b, and “DJs have to be very attentive to what the crowd might be into at any given moment. They’re very demanding crowds,” Marlon tells me, “they know what they’re into and they know what they expect from a club. They expect to dance.”

I met up with Marfox and his younger protégé, Rogério Brandão aka DJ Nigga Fox, at a coffee shop near the container port on the east side of Lisbon. On a block of converted warehouses by the waterfront, the cafe sits next to a record shop called Flur where José Moura and Márcio Matos work. José and Márcio make up half of the team behind Principe Discos (with Pedro Gomes and Nelson Gomes), the label that’s been releasing Marlon and Rogério’s records over the last couple of years. They’re also here, nursing cups of espresso, to translate for us.

Since the release of Principe and Marfox’s debut 12” last year, Eu Sel Quem Sou, their frenzied polyrhythmic hybrid of Angolan kuduro, batida, and kizomba with western house and techno, has been moving out of ad-hoc parties in abandoned buildings in the peripheries into the hip clubs in the city centre and beyond. Recently, Philip Sherburne, writing in Spin, called it “the waist-windingest music I’ve ever heard…like an ultra-vivid hybrid of grime and trance.” This weekend, Marfox and Nigga Fox take the stage at the Unsound Festival in Kraków. I’m here to find out how the scene came together in the first place.