Nihiloxica's self-titled debut was promoted as 'a darker take on Bugandan drumming'. Biiri sees the group venture further still into unsettling territory. The twenty-minute EP comprises of four short, uptempo compositions. All are as memorable as each other, but in wildly different ways.
'Digga Digga' conjures images of a dungeon-y indoor rave. 'Baksimba' is overdriven and anxiety-inducing; it makes you want to grind your teeth to gravel. 'Dubugwanjuba' has the mournful atonality of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre soundtrack. And 'Ding Ding' is a fitting climax, in perpetual acceleration until it ends by smashing into a wall.
These tracks share a common backbone, though, in the group's fearsome drumming. And this doesn't feel like a homogenised 'fusion' project made to satisfy the palate of global listeners. Instead, industrial techno and Bugandan rhythms operate in symbiosis. The gnarly electronic elements are extensions of what Nihiloxica would be doing anyway, in a world without synthesisers.
Nihiloxica are becoming Nyege Nyege Tapes' flagship act - and for good reason. The fact this EP was recorded live, in single takes, is astonishing. The group must be a hell of a live act. Biiri provides an adrenaline rush that elevates Nihiloxica above many of their contemporaries. It's the sort of music you can feel in the ends of your fingers, rattling in your skull and thudding chest. A real standout from the beginning of this year.
Words by Andrew O’Keefe