Boomkat Product Review:
Nyege Nyege Tapes’ revelatory Singeli series culminates with a rush from scene bossman Mohamed Hamza Ally aka Sisso, whose studio in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania is the epicentre of the world’s most thrilling, punkish new dance style. Arriving after incendiary instalments in 2018 by Bamba Pana, Jay Mitta, and Duke, and the introductory ‘Sounds of Sisso’ compilation in 2017, the ‘Mateso’ album pulls focus back to the scene’s lynchpin with 8 none-more-compelling cuts of breakneck loops and helter skelter riffs on vinyl, supplemented by a tape with equally exhilarating bonus material awaiting quick clickers and dancers.
The collected tracks chronicle Sisso’s work over the past four years, spanning a period after his informal studio in the sprawling ghettos of Dar-Es-Salaam grew from a small shack selling DVDs and MP3s, to come to catalyse countless new releases from local producers such as Bamba Pana, DJ Longo, and Balotelli, as well as a wave of new MC’s including Makavelli, Cad Reedah, Anti Virus, Dogo Muchi, Dogo Mjanja, Rehema Tajiri, and Yung Yuda.
Sisso’s productions epitomise Singeli’s hyperlocal scenius, distilling the vitality and struggle of life of the fringes of the Swahili-speaking world’s most populous city, into a unique music which seems to reflect the idea of keeping a cool head in frenetic situations. Between his ratchet rhythms and pitched-up melodies there’s a sublime, unresolved tension at play, where the music feels to accelerate so fast that dancers are glyding, sustaining a breathlessly “up” effect that uncannily recalls mid ‘90s UK Happy Hardcore as much as Chicago Footwork, Caribbean Soca and Shangaan electro, yet with a psychotomimetic appeal all of its own.
The tracks on ‘Mateso’ are no doubt some of Singeli’s most potently direct and crafty, circling from proper knees-up whirligigs to hyper, laser-riffing funk, ecstatic choral cut-ups and hard but super-sweet steppers that will spark off any up-for-it dance the world over.