Ascension

Following the rise of many more promising new talents this year, ANGEL-HO, avant-garde producer from Cape Town, South Africa, is one of the most recent ones and certainly one of the most unique. His genre-transcending, rhythmical sound-collage ambient style, somewhat resembling the work of Elysia Crampton, is not only throat-grippingly powerful because of the skillful way in which it is created, but also because of the political message it conveys.

In his interview with The Fader last week, he talked about the experiences and political circumstances that feed his music. Shared struggles with and resistance to the multiple ways in which colonialism and institutional racism keeps on shaping society and culture in different parts of the world brought him together with Chino Amobi (US) and Nkisi (UK) via the internet. This led to the creation of the netlabel NON Records: “a collective of African artists, and of the diaspora, using sound as their primary media, to articulate the visible and invisible structures that create binaries in society, and in turn distribute power.”

NON represents the voice and resistance of those juxtaposed to and by conventional canons and histories, politically as well as culturally. This is visible in title themes as well as in the radically deconstructionist sound it pushes, which refuses to conform to any expectation or description in terms of conventional genres or categories and does so refreshingly without the irony and cultural appropriation of most experimental music so far. This music, probably more than any other thing that went before, questions the creaking institutional system that continues to shapes the world for all of us, but for how long.

ANGEL-HO’s tracks feature elements such as eery soundscapes with lots of reverb, gabber and speedcore kicks, vocal samples and combat sounds from videogames which together harmonise into rhytmical patterns that sometimes resemble styles like baile funk, afrobeats and grime but almost never becoming conventional beats. This continuous movement between rhythm, consciously crafted near-chaos and broody, tense ambient creates a unique experience. It communicates a subconsious message of protest so powerful that it can bring down the world as we know it, yet so elusive that it cannot be boxed in and controlled.

ASCENSION EP is ANGEL-HO’s debut on the fresh netlabel Halcyon Veillaunched this year by Houston based avant-garde grime producer Rabit, being in fact the label’s second feat of arms after Myth‘s Evaporate EP.

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