Nazar’s Enclave is a rich example of using music as a communicative tool. Released on London’s Hyperdub on November 16, it’s inspired by the Belgium-raised producer’s return to Angola following a 27-year civil war. The political history of the south-central African country might be hazy to some but Nazar makes sure they can hear what it feels like. ‘Warning Shots’ is a degraded and distorted noise piece overrun by gunfire. The sense of panic and feeling trapped is palpable. A damaged vocal sample struggles to be heard beneath the barrage. The track crashes while an unstable though repetitive keyboard line plays in the crush.
In service to this information exchange, Hyperdub has been fostering connections between London and the second most-populous continent for some time. There was LV’s 2012 Sebenza collaboration with Okmalumkoolkat, Spoek Mathambo and Sello Mangwana in South Africa, and OKZharp & Manthe more recently. On Nazar’s ‘Airstrike’, London DJ and co-curator of Corsica Studios‘ ø club night Shannen S P contributes, as a rifle cocks ominously above a menacing bass line: “Thirty-two wives and their children,/ only one room to stay hidden.” That is a sentence repeated by her feminine voice, as well as another masculine one that also reminds us, “it just takes a second, it’s done.”
The shadow of colonialism and its aftermath lingers in the coarse and noisy four-by-four rendition of what Nazar calls “rough kuduro” on Enclave. It concludes on the eerie, melodic calm of ‘Ceasefire’. Portuguese vocal sound bytes are played over sweeping, swelling pads and samples of gently splashing water; a foreboding pronouncement that war, for now, is over.**