Boomkat Product Review:
DJ Nigga Fox’s most substantial release to date sets a new benchmark for Lisbon’s revered underground ghetto dance scene, pulling traces of jazz, acid house and cinematic sound design into his deeply rugged and exceptional sound with effortless style...🔥🔥🔥
Highlighted as one to watch in Lisbon’s virulent club scenius since appearing on the ‘Bazzerk’ compilation which introduced many ravers to Kuduro in 2011, DJ Nigga Fox’s productions have become acclaimed for a mix of abstract weirdness and proper dancefloor impact that’s hit ‘floors hard across the world. Following 2018’s ‘Crânio’ 12” for Warp and remix of How To Dress Well, he now returns to the Príncipe powerhouse, home of his first trio of 12”s, with a definitive statement that arguably ranks among this year’s strongest rhythm-driven LP's.
In a way that mirrors UK dance music’s transition in the ‘90s from hardcore jungle to garage and D&B, or in the ‘00s from grime and dubstep to more “sophisticated” styles of deep house, broken beats and UK Funky, Nigga Fox’s album-length EP appears more layered, plusher and, ultimately “musical” when compared to his earlier work. Using sparing but knowing dabs of noirish jazz keys, live-sounding double bass and expressively off-kilter synth tones, he binds rippling, colourful flesh to his flexing, bare bones drums in a way that boldly blazes a trail for his local scene without ever losing sight of what makes it so thrilling in the first place.
This inch-tight refinement of Nigga Fox’s already distinctive style is characterised by the twisting, unpredictable arrangement of ’Sub Zero’, where stealthy waves of swingeing drums and vintage horror movie tropes are ramped with feral electro scuzz to killer effect, or equally in the freaky tension between lissom jazz chords, jaws-harp buzz and wild acid lines on ‘Faz A Minha’, and the way he meshes roiling drums with complex, asymmetric electronics on ‘Vicio’, or simply forges his own, outstanding form of slow, psychedelic dance-pop replete with his own, Quasimodo-Styled vocal in the shocking closer ‘5 Violinos.’
By any measure ‘Cartas Na Manga’ is a singular release that stands miles out from the crowd. Its only comparisons really lie within Lisbon’s club scene, with the likes of DJ Firmeza, Marfox or Nervoso. As such it’s best taken as symptomatic of their collective scenius, and is keenly ready to be mixed with music from all corners of the Black Atlantic.