In the near mythical folklore surrounding Lisbon’s Principe Discos, a DIY label celebrating the raw urban electronic Kuduro, batida, kizomba, funaná and Afro house influenced music that evolved in Lisbon’s outer suburbs, Nervoso stands tall. Whilst Marfox is generally credited with being the main instigator of the scene, Nervoso was there back in the day influencing the likes of Marfox and appearing on the 2006 compilation DJ’s Do Guetto (which you can download for free here) He also appeared on the 3rd volume of Warp’s Cargaa series with a dense relentless slab of conflicting percussion on ‘Buzizz,’ yet it’s somewhat of a surprise that now, so far down the track we’re finally seeing his debut solo outing.
Nervoso likes his percussion, and doesn’t need much else, as the six songs here, clocking in at 20 odd minutes in total, are wonky unsettling rhythmic workouts with minimal extraneous ingredients. Occasionally there’s a hilarious repetitive vocal sample saying “Ah Ah,” such as on ‘Ah Ah’, a bit of bass here and a siren there, but in the main, it’s percussion, sampled hand percussion and electronic beats. Most of his sounds feel culled from a techno music sample library, though whilst Nervoso is no doubt tipping his hat to this world, his stuttering beats, odd cadences and peculiar time signatures, alongside colliding, near incongruous rhythmic patterns keep everything joyfully off kilter and uncertain.
The most interesting piece is the final ‘Kuia,’ and it’s also his also his most diverse, and though it barely gets above a canter, the beats evolve, swing, and even the implementation of some strange pitches of sound that are vaguely reminiscent of farmyard animals from kids keyboards still manages to end up with this really seductive stilted groove. Like much of Nervoso’s music it almost feels like a challenge he’s given himself, by beginning with a cold difficult near grooveless snare, then it’s up to him to slowly breathe life into the track. And it’s incredible how Nervoso and many of his compatriots seem to be able to make challenging fascinating and unexpected dance music from the simplest of ingredients.
This is the kind of music that makes you wonder if you’re playing it at the wrong speed, it’s a deconstruction of electronic music, where it has been disassembled and pieced back together a little wrong, leaving the listener feeling more than a little bit, confused, energized and Nervoso.