Boomkat Product Review:
Woozy and ineffably funky trypbient experimentation from Nigerian installation artist Emeka Ogboh. Like halftempo D&B crossed with Artificial Intelligence Warp or Mo'Wax "Headz"-era goodness, augmented with the organic vs cybernetic percussive shuffle of Amazondotcom or DJ Python... jaw fully dropped.
We're just a few days into the new year and have already been blessed with a record that's been stuck on rotation since it landed. Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh assembled "Beyond the Yellow Haze" for his 2018 exhibition "No Condition is Permanent", an installation that explored Lagos through sound and video, mapping out the transient, shifting nature of the cityscape. Splitting his time between the Nigerian capital and Berlin, Ogboh paints slow-mo electronic grooves that heave and wind hypnotically, pulling threads of influence from across the musical spectrum and stitching them into a vivid, unique cyberfunk vista.
It's temping to compare this album to the brittle, android funk of Warp's first "Artificial Intelligence" comp and Mo'Wax's influential "Headz". Those sets of vital post-rave experiments bloomed in the shadow of Detroit techno and British hardcore; here, Ogboh's slithering grooves feel like a similar reaction to the unrelenting minimal throb of Berlin, as seen through an outsider's eyes. Techno, both the boundless root sound that was born in Black America and Berghain's polished, pneumatic 4/4, is the magic bean that grows each track. Yet fertilized with Ogboh's Nigerian cultural experiences it takes on fresh character: TR-909 kicks are replaced with woodblock clacks; soul-dimming electronic drugdrones are swapped with lively marketplace chatter, cascading rainfall and bellowing car horns.
Ogboh is a master of restraint, giving DJ Python a run for his money as he slowly cycles through skeletal percussive loops that dodge and swing, rather than sit comfortably on the grid. Womping hoover basses appear occasionally, trapped in the space between the club and the afters, avoiding basic utility but imprisoning the memory of some messy function or another in some random city. It's a startling achievement, triggering warm feelings of familiarity and electroplating them, hammering them into a chromium world that's a couple of hyperjumps beyond Lagos or Berlin.
We're completely obsessed: whether you're into the burn'd mind haze of Burial, Tricky and Space Afrika or Amazondotcom and Slikback's lysurgic inverted club, you're not gonna want to pass this up.