What happens when you aggressive UK bass collides with testosterone-driven Bugandan percussion? Nothing quiet, that’s for sure. That specific combo of acoustic and electronic, of modern and traditional first came about with the formation of Nihiloxica half a decade back, when UK producers Spooky-J and pq linked up with Nilotika Cultural Ensemble members Isa, Sally, Prince, and Spyda in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala.
Owing their handle to a Nile river source in Kampala, Nihiloxica’s sound also captures a stream of consciousness between Bantu and English, and takes inspiration from the regressive attitudes and institutionalized discrimination that so often plague those cross-continental conversations. But as heard on Nihiloxica’s 2017 eponymous EP, its 2019 follow-up Biiri, and their 2020 debut full-length Kaloli, lyrics simply don’t channel that impassioned outrage as well as extreme electronic techniques and an undying drive of drums.
Early last year, Nihiloxica returned to their early Nyege Nyege Studio stomping grounds in Kampala to track their sophomore LP Source of Denial in a rigorous one-month period. The result is an absolutely insane instrumental excursion over eleven outrageous, genre-bending originals. Source of Denial brings an awful lot of bass to the bureaucracy and powerful percussion to UK foreign policy, and as hinted by their near-illegible album artwork, some really cool interjections of metal into Nihiloxica’s formulas. And while themes of racism, xenophobia, and international classism might escape surface-level listeners, that subtext is critical to Source of Denial‘s immense artistic statement. So before Source of Denial hits streaming on Friday, enter Nihiloxica’s next chapter of unconventional-but-necessary, mad scientist-level innovation and techno-entrancement on “Asidi”.