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. Incubated by Nyege Tapes and serving as one of the label’s most successful collaborations to date, Nihiloxica demonstrates a continuous, evolving conversation between two cultures; a dialogue that is drawing attention from across the globe.
This band is the product of a deep history between Kampala’s Nyege Nyege Festival and the Nilotika Cultural Ensemble. Under the leadership of Jajja Kalanda, the Ensemble provides an outlet for the youth of Kampala, teaching spiritual, musical and tailoring practices to underprivileged communities around the city and performing at various cultural events.
The rhythmic force of the Nilotika Cultural Ensemble – a local Bugandan drum set and a troupe of powerful players – began to perform at a club night in Kampala’s blossoming electronic scene called Boutiq Electroniq (namesake of the first release on Nyege Nyege Tapes by Disco Vumbi) and here the first merging of live Bugandan drums with electronic sounds was made. The DJs at the embryonic Nyege club night would lay down electronic tracks, and Nilotika would jam along. The result was interesting, but only a one-way conversation.
In 2017 Spooky-J, a jazz drummer and producer releasing on Blip Discs, and pq, a sound engineer and synthesist, came to Kampala ahead of Nyege Nyege Festival, presently in it’s third year, to write, rehearse, and record a set of live recordings that would form the group’s debut EP, Nihiloxica, that was released to widespread critical acclaim on Nyege Nyege Tapes. The sound showcased on that EP was just the beginning of a long, dark conversation between two cultures, and the language is only becoming more developed.