Boomkat Product Review:
Nídia's third full-length is a future-facing suite of mutant Afro-Portuguese rhythms and wormy melodies rooted in Guinea-Bissau's anti-colonial history. Like everything we’ve heard from Nídia, it’s an effortless but deadly amalgamation of peak-time curveballs and gloriously catchy hooks - essential for anyone into DJ Danifox, Nazar, DJ Lycox, Matias Aguayo.
'95 MINDJERES' ("95 women" in crioulo) is Nídia's most charged and unforgettable album yet, taking its cues from the women freedom fighters - like Titina Silá and Teodora Gomes - who helped bring Guinea-Bissau to independence from Portuguese colonial rule in the 1960s and '70s. Nídia braids lilting, West African rhythms into multicoloured electronic prangs, sharpened to a knifepoint that cuts straight thru the heart. She asks "it's like?" on opener 'É COMO?', goading us into a search for comparisons. The truth is she's completely out on her own, screwing with the form as she waltzes with familiar elements - hand drums, woodblocks, neon stabs, vibey hooks.
On 'Caiomhe' she pushes resonant, clattering percussion into focus, before embracing a warehouse groove on 'To La', shattering its darkness with wafting guitar licks and zig-zagging shakers. She displays a deep knowledge of Euro-washed club forms and pierces them with conspicuous emotion: joy, melancholy and indignation. There are traces of Detroit's sci-fi-minded futurism left in the DNA of 'Sukuku', with its rolling synths and euphoric pads, but Nídia shuttles into a different zone, chopping the rhythm and never dragging things out for longer than needed. We can hear echoes of Innerzone Orchestra's epochal 'Bug in the Bass Bin', split with Afro-Portuguese rhythms instead of jazz, the result fully transcendent.
We're treated to a rare DJ tool with 'cp', and Nídia's club skills are fully on show on ‘Pose’ too, where she refracts the House blueprints of Lil Louis into a martial, horny banger. On 'Mindjeres', she uses invigorating flute and mbira-like chimes to suggest a more downcast mood, before dialling serrated FM synths into tremulous thuds on 'abcd'. And to close, Nídia deploys her most widescreen cut to date - ‘Paradise' - a slow-paced epic that opens with a wash of Art of Noise-style pads and builds to a low warble with trapdoor kicks and pointillistic stabs. Tense but deliriously heady, it's the perfect finale to an album that's immensely uplifting, energising and unforgettable.
Príncipe’s best in class.