Belgium-raised Nazar returned to his homeland Angola in 2002 at the end of its bloody civil war. His Hyperdub debut Enclave EP is his response to the trauma of 27 years of violence: an icy take on kuduro, Angola’s carnivalesque electronic dance music. Interlacing spoken references to the war with sounds of airstrikes and guns cocking, Nazar creates a deeply personal artistic confrontation to the brutality and repression of the period, one that is more honest than Angola’s existing apolitical dance culture.
He keeps kuduro’s frantic tempo, weaving throbbing beats with vitriolic synths to create an anxiety-inducing but infectiously danceable techno/afrobeat/experimental hybrid baby – think Buraka Som Sistema meets Autechre. The effect is chilling, not least due to the cries and drone-like synths that we hear throughout. As we draw closer to the end, the swelling chaos is interspersed with havens of peace. Nazar showcases the breadth of his capabilities by moving seamlessly between dark, cowbell-heavy club bangers like ‘Enclave’ and ‘Konvoy’ to field recordings of birds and rain and lapping water, the sound of helicopters circling in the distance, atmospheric vocals and strings. These ambient elements and samples of his father reading excerpts of his wartime diary in Portuguese in ‘Ceasefire’ close the EP on a hopeful note. The war is over: now it’s time to rebuild.