Boomkat Product Review:
The untouchable Nyege Nyege Tapes turn up drivingly psychedelic visions of AfroLatin techno-meets-traditional-drumming by Portuguese/Uganda band HHY & The Kampala Unit, rendered in immersive widescreen dub and featuring special appearance of the Kampala Prison Brass Band for one of the wildest, heart-in-mouth rhythm trips of 2020
Helmed by Jonathan Saldanha of HHY & The Macumbas, and revolving ghetto activist Florence Lugemwa (trumpet) and percussionist Omutaba, ‘Lithium Blast’ is the latest, unprecedented collision of energies from the cultural fusion-accelerator of Nyege Nyege Tapes Kampala-based HQ. It follows the edits of HHY & The Macumbas’ ‘Camouflage Vector’ set, and the inventive examples of recent works by Metal Preyers, Villaelvin and Rian Treanor, with a cinematically scoped and body-conscious suite of 11 militant yet lush songs that surely prove Uganda’s capital city Kampala is a true epicentre of innovative new music in the modern day.
Committing a sort of futuristic, off-grid trance music for the ages, HHY & The Kampala Unit set out a penetrating vision of street-level cosmogony, intuitively mapping out zones between native drumming styles, techno, and astral electronics in a stunning suite of dubwise 4D starcharts. Guided by ancient, encrypted rhythms and a gripping sensuality, the album flows from its bolshy introduction to the Kampala Prison Brass Band in the fanfare of ‘Bursting Thru The Gates’, to thunder try the rocky rapids of ’Mesh Intensifier’ and chase sequence of ‘Fissure Core Fluid’ with a powerful sense of drama and magnetic dancefloor traction.
Shards of shatterproof ‘80s FM synth lace with swingeing polymetric percussion in the twin tub rinse-out ‘Catastrophism’, and Gazelle-legged rhythms synch with sweeping subs and soaring pads in the title track, but it’s possibly the ravishing electronic lushness of ‘Science of Dust’ and the familiar yet otherworldly hybrid of Florence Lugemwa’s trumpet with supple ambient dancehall backdrops in ‘Shining Star’ that will leave listeners most wide-eyed and mesmerised by HHY & The Kampala Unit’s strikingly natural but hyperreal sound.
A total doozy.