Nídia - S/T EP Music Album Reviews

Just weeks after releasing a new album and accompanying 7", the Portuguese batida producer completes the triptych with a dynamic and defiant four-track EP of tough, percussive club cuts.

Few words and little fanfare accompanied the release of S/T, Nídia’s latest EP on Lisbon dance label Príncipe. It made a surprise landing in early June, while across the U.S., collective rage about police brutality and state-sanctioned racism was boiling over and spilling into the streets. “We have to be more friendly and humane,” wrote the Portuguese producer, who grew up in outer Lisbon’s Vale de Amoreira housing projects, in a statement announcing S/T. “COVID taught us that we are nobody without each other,” she added. “Since I stopped judging and hating human beings my life has become as colourful as the LGBTQ flag and as firm as Martin Luther King’s fist.” While the creation of the tracks predates the current protests, the EP contains some of Nídia’s most urgent and invigorating beat work—a reminder that the batida rhythms she crafts are themselves a form of dissent.
“Calm music is for couples,” Nídia told The New York Times in 2018, shortly after moving back to Vale do Amoreira from Bordeaux, where she spent her adolescence. “When something comes out of the ghetto, it can’t come softly. It has to have strength.” That strength is evident across Nídia’s catalog, but particularly on S/T, which packs four relentless entries into a lean 16 minutes. S/T marks the third installment of a triptych, following Nídia’s Badjuda Sukulbembe 7" and her latest LP, Não Fales Nela Que A Mentes, both of which arrived earlier this year. Those records are considerably more lax and spacious than S/T. The meditative Não Fales Nela Que A Mentes lopes and ripples, while Badjuda Sukulbembe is as thick and agitated as a kettle of simmering molasses. S/T detonates any previous calm, however. Nídia has said that her community’s music should be “like an explosion in your face,” and S/T is evidence of the young producer’s pyrotechnic touch.

The record is propelled by sharp synthesizer, insistent percussion, and the occasional squawking command. Opener “CHEF” tosses laser-beam bleats over snare patches like peppery spices—the more seasoning, the better. “Jam” dials up that intensity, looping a frantic, soccer-stadium synth melody over skittering breakbeats. Perhaps the song’s title stems from its resemblance to an over-caffeinated jock jam—one better blasted in the club than at a sports arena. While “CHEF” and “Jam” are optimally explosive, “Hard” and “Nunun” are the most dynamic cuts on S/T, maintaining velocity as they change shape. The latter pusles with organic, wooden percussion. It clatters and thumps as Nídia extrudes beams of glowing, ambient tone to glide between the polyrhythms.

If strength is Nídia’s impetus for making music, it is fully realized on “Hard,” a militant dancefloor decree. Her longtime calling card, “Studio da Mana” (“Sister’s Studio,” the name she gave to her home recording setup) chirps out early in the mix, followed by dueling horn phrases and girding beats. Here, the percussion is tinny and rapid—like horses galloping on streets paved with sheet metal. Nídia’s rhythmic stride is in full force: equal parts battle march and ecstatic gyration. Listening to Não Fales Nela Que A Mentes and Badjuda Sukulbembe now, it seems like they weren’t so much relaxed as they were bracing for disruption. S/T offers that catharsis—a work of urgency that makes dancing itself feel like a form of civil disobedience.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

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Nídia - S/T EP Music Album Reviews Nídia - S/T EP Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 Rating:

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