Plafonddeinst shatters the boundaries of what we considered possible in electronic dance music, mapping a lush and intricate new terrain with a relatively lean, raw timbral palette.
Mozambican composer Nandele Maguni is a master sampler and beatsmith who finds effortless joy and addictive grooves deep within sparse snippets of good vibes he excavates from another dimension. “Trap is African music, it has that warrior sound,” he explains in an April 20, 2020 interview.
Perhaps it’s a propos that my initial draft of a review for this gem of an album was lost to my careless ignorance of computers. I had little else to do but rewrite it now, since California remains locked down to weather the storm of a killer microbe taking down 3,000 of its American hosts a day. Meanwhile, Mozambique has seen less than 150 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, with daily deaths in the single digits. “Come on gringo, you can do him one better than that,” fate seemed to say. These may be some of the first genuine vibes I’ve felt all year, so I do owe these songs a fair bit.
Well here goes. The album has some of the hardest bangers ever to bang in 2020, but true to our 2020 reality, it’s not a feverish rave of non-stop bangers. Rather, Nandele stews each song in an ambient montage of loose ideas until the sonic lipids heat up and render over the tough sinewy bass, cooking deep-fried dance tracks in their own juices.
The standout exemplar is “Tato,” which spans the rhythmic gamut of music history from Indian classical to breakcore, Chicago footwork, collage and noise music, enhanced by the oneiric poetry of rapper Mc Gabarolas. Elsewhere on “Mbili” and “Sita,” the guitar and piano work of Roberto Chitsonzo, Jr. delivers some powerful Fripp/Eno/Live at Pompeii-ass pyrotechnics, blasting us into a Blade Runner netherworld of stadium rock soundscapes.
Elsewhere on “None,” Nandele deconstructs and rearranges classic electro-funk ideas by dissolving Zapp and Kraftwerk in a boiling cauldron of aggressive acid techno. (For more of Nandele’s acid tendencies, see also his new “FF” EP.) “Tisa” takes groove straight out of Autobahn and distills it into disco. Everything is savored in its essence, the vibes.
“You play the song for your friends,” Nandele says of the genesis of a new track. “And you hang out, and you chill.”