Nihiloxica – ‘Nihiloxica’ Cassette [Nyege Nyege Tapes]

The stunningly good Nyege Nyege Tapes label has been bringing us outer sounds from East Africa on cassette since Disco Vumbi launched them last year. And while I haven’t found any evidence contrary to or in favour of, I’d assume there’s a connection between the label and the Nyege Nyege Festival which had it’s third outing in Jinja, Uganda, earlier this year.

The term ‘nyege’ itself defines as an “intensive feeling for the urgency in need for intimacy, closure and physical exploration” with a bunch of mental and physical sexual connotations thrown in. And, in the case of most Nyege Nyege Tapes releases to date including Nihiloxica, this description is quite relevant.

Nihiloxica is in fact an international collaboration between Uganda’s Nilotica Drum Ensemble and UK percussionist Spooky J. With a supporting cast of Sahara cellphone synth scales and hollowed out industrial bass, it’s the rhythm that drives each of the four tracks on the tape. Loads and loads of live drums, which is to be expected when the press release calls out seven percussionists, a kit drummer and one synth player.

A tad darker and more introspective than some of the craziness we’ve heard before but also incredibly tight in all it’s sounds, which turns out to be a positive trade-off. For a bit of proper history and some more elegnant wording this is what Headphone Nation had to say about it, lifted verbatim:

The Buganda, Uganda’s largest ethnic group, hold the drum in highest regards. The instrument is used in ceremonies, for dance, and is played when a child is born and when anyone dies. The Kabaka’s (king’s) drums are considered holy. Each clan has its own drum rhythm. And when women were allowed to play drums, it was a sign of their new power over the strict patriarchy.

The music of Nihiloxica is a celebration of drumming’s special place in Uganda, still ever so present. However, the added synth does indeed make the music “darker” and brings the Buganda appreciation into the 21st century.

The NNT physical stuff never seems to stick around for long, and chances are will be gone by the time you read this. Check it out below then head on over to the bandcamp page to give them some money to make more.

via Nyege Nyege Tapes
Welcome to the world of NIHILOXICA. A darker take on traditional Bugandan drumming. Comprised of seven percussionists, one kit drummer combined with an analog synth player. Recorded live in single takes at Boutiq Studios in Kampala, Uganda between the 26th and 29th of August 2017.