Nandele & A-Tweed – Xigubo

9.28.23 by Matty McPherson

Jollies, the Brooklyn “mostly electronic” tape label, which has slowly shown curatorial prowess and a defiant streak of consistent left-turn in honing in on its sound that’s begun to show off a display of engrossing techno sounds and sleights for those deep in the bleeps. With a new EP, Xigubo, from Nandele & A-Tweed having arrived at the start of summer, the label might have just released their most esteemed release yet that’s worth the hi-fi listen as much as one heavy in the headphones.

You may recall, Nandele Maguni the star of a terrific early 2022 Already Dead release as a part of a trio, Muave. The Imaginary experience was a tripped out textures, often coming back to trap as a raditating baseline and connecting to a lineage of electronic forms as much as a “colonial resistant” spirit and warrior energy. Xigubo is an even stronger, more blunt dosage. Dialing back the sprawl (and a bit of the trap), Nadele’s work with A-Tweed this go around is a sees both continuation of what Muave’s synths and ambience suggested, amongst rawer industrial catharsis.

In fact, the EP opens practically en media as such: blasting ndustrial techno mutates towards with underwater reverb reverberations and 90s computer synth alleyway chase outIt’s always a thrilling set of left turns that give a sense of real space. A perfect pop loop, jarring string noise akin to close calls with brick walls. “Floresta”, the piece’s name, is a true 8 minute distillation of their best foot forward, as much as revealing just how easily the following pieces can slip through forms.

In fact, it might make Nandele’s current work such a perfect distillation of illbient spirit as well–no genre, just a DJ, ever moving through their sound. Naja and Machava, rounding out Side A, both argue this via skill synth production and a supreme low end. Naja’s a quick wham-bam!, a frantic, rattling jitter that imagines tight-wire movement across treetops. Machava twitches amongst the blunt impact of its gunpowder beat. It summons a reverberating drone that almost gives it a conga characteristic, amongst a real sense of alien dread, the kind a Metroid handheld specializes in. It feels of a kind of alien hieroglyphic, a music that you can decode into a playful dance (for the legs as much the mind).

If Side A’s trio of tracks was anti-sprawl, then Side B’s Intensidade returns for an hair-raising slow burn. It’d be amusing to dub this a 180 inversion of a chill out room, but it’s closer to be on the bridge of a spaceship on the fritz of terminal nuclear implosing. This piece deconstructs itself into complete smoke and mirrors, via a hair-raising, sizzling synth line that suggest complete all-encompassing spectral dread that dominates the piece. Haptic quips and ghostly echoes find a home here, almost acting like a computer system desperate to save itself and fight for a future. This is not a build that completely overtakes the system or implodes into crashing beauty. In that final minute, it finds a solace and rescues itself.

Professionally dubbed red cassette with white body print available now at Jollies.