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Nihiloxica is a live project that harnesses the full force of the ancient Bugandan drumming tradition of Uganda and focusses it on the contemporary dancefloor through a dark, brooding lens of techno sensibility. Nihiloxica demonstrates a continuous, evolving conversation between two cultures; a dialogue that is drawing attention from across the globe.

Nihiloxica’s new album ‘Source of Denial’ was released on 29th September on Crammed Discs. The album delves deeper into studio production, further blurring the line between the acoustic and synthetic worlds. Extreme metal elements are thrown into the mixture of traditional Bugandan percussion and club sounds they’ve become synonymous with.

The distorted, chaotic energy of the record is channelled into a direct criticism of immigration policies in the UK and around the world. Source of Denial is the second LP from Nihiloxica, the Bugandan techno outfit hailing from Kampala, Uganda. It comes after more than three long years since ‘Kaloli’, their acclaimed debut on Crammed Discs. The album points a (middle) finger at the hostile immigration and freedom of movement policies implemented in the UK, as well as across the world. Fueled by their frustrations with this intentionally convoluted system, the group have produced their most cataclysmic effort to date.

Returning to the Nyege Nyege studio in Kampala where the band recorded their early EPs, the band tracked ‘Source of Denial’ over an intense month of sessions in early 2022. The cover art is emblazoned with an ultra-metallic new logo, echoing the growing presence of metal influences across the tracklisting, while the hi-vis, official-document styling wryly evokes the bureaucratic nightmare at the heart of the project. Tracks like ‘Asidi’ and ‘Baganga’ flirt with the dystopian, mechanical patterns and tonalities of djent godfathers Meshuggah, while the gargantuan synth line of the title track summons the spirit of an 8-string guitar, synthesised palm-mutes and all. This is all effortlessly compounded with the molotov cocktail of Bugandan ngoma (drums) and club sounds the group have become revered for. On tracks like ‘Olutobazzi’, ‘Postloya’ and ‘Trip Chug’, the drums themselves are reanimated and manipulated more than ever, further blurring the line between tradition and techno. Aside from studio outtake ‘Preloya’, the only voices heard throughout the album are computer-generated, broadcasting details of application processes, character backgrounds and accountability through muffled phone speakers. The effect is a Kafkaesque feedback loop; an avalanche of constant call tones, uncanny British accents and rigorous interrogative questioning. The frustrations are a problem the band, a defiantly global outfit, has faced continuously. A whole UK tour was cancelled in 2022, and recently, a UK show had to be performed with only three members due to problems with a certain conglomerate visa agency who “provide services” for the UK, as well as a growing number of countries.

“We wanted to create the sense of being in the endless, bureaucratic hell-hole of attempting to travel to a foreign country that deems itself superior to where you’re from.” 

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Jeroen van den Bogert



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