Some artists prefer to stay away from present or past political issues, while others use them as the main vehicle for their creativity. The young Angolan producer Nazar leans toward the second option on Guerilla, the bomb he’s just launched. Inspired by the many memories and stories of his father, who was a rebel general for UNITA during the civil war, he translates the history of his family and of the country into music, with roaring bass and sharp beats.
Continuing in the vein of his dazzling EP Enclave, Nazar continues his aggressive re-appropriation of kuduro, an already rather raw musical style. When the producer injects its with shock lyrics and structures built from a base of gunshots, let’s say that the intensity can only increase tenfold. The heaviness of the subject matter, however, is not too overwhelming to listen to. The 11 tracks flow marvelously well and the syncopated atmospheres that the artist projects onto our eardrums triggers an instant abandon to frenetic dance. The balance between experimentation and efficiency is achieved on tracks such as “Arms Deal” and “Intercept”, which admirably fuse African percussion with crazy electronic flights of fancy. It’s not at all surprising to see this production ending up on an avant-garde label like Hyperdub. Following the rest of Nazar’s career will undoubtedly be very interesting, the intense story surrounding his family will certainly be an inexhaustible source of inspiration.