This. Shit. Slaps.
Nilihoxica is the Ugandan percussion combo that finally shatters the illusory barrier between traditional and modern music—ceremony and entertainment, if you prefer—blending the artifice of our global political economy into a danceable chaos. By juxtaposing the relentlessly danceable, polyrhythmic precision of the drum language from Buganda (central Uganda) with entrancing synthesizer soundscapes of UK garage and jungle musicians, the group forges a uniquely contemporary music that can be worshipped in a liturgy or an orgy, whatever that means to you.
What does pounding your head mean to you? Whether it’s the throbbing of your skull around a dehydrated brain, or a grooving body in a nocturnal nightclub, or quarantined limbs yearning to bust loose, Nihiloxica stresses movement and rhythm above what you would prefer to call poetry or art. Warbling air-raid sirens wail over throbbing drum line numbers, while modular synthesizer jabs make occasional melodies out of indiscernibly chaotic low-end muck.
Britons and sci-fi fans may recall awkward efforts to bring speculative fiction into the modern world of drum & bass with China Mieville’s picaresque novel King Rat, which culminates in a cleverly corny battle scene set to ‘90s UK dubstep and jungle tracks. Nihiloxica feels like what a DJ might be tempted to produce if they had read that along with Cameroonian music scholar Francis Bebey’s study African Music: A People’s Art, which posits a uniquely African relationship to music as a political and ceremonial instrument as integral to society as the magistrate’s gavel.
My highlights: meditative sound-poems such as “170819” juxtapose a plaintive shepherd’s flute with Herbie Hancock-esque lounge keys, while throbbing bangers like “Tuwali Sekali” and “Gunjula” get the hips moving on the dancefloor. Shatter your world and dance a bit, or just dissolve into the oscillations.