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Leading on from his 2015 solo debut 12” and numerous international DJ forays, Firmeza’s ‘Ardeu’ sees him inject devilish detail into his productions at no expense to his signature, stripped-down suss. All four cuts are intensely rhythmelodic, and include two highlights revolving Firmeza’s own vocals, toasting not boasting in a stream-of-consciousness flow know locally as “animação” that expresses his singular spin on classic styles, as inspired by ghetto guru DJ Nervoso. The A-side finds Firmeza freely associating words and themes in a rootsy style of Kuduro. The sounds of police sirens, telephone hold tones and crowd noise mingle with colourful carnival vamps while Firmeza’s lilting vocal cadence matches the rhythm’s cantering syncopation on ‘Intenso’, and ‘AVAN’ sees him scudding melodically over cold, direct drums in a style recalling DJ Petchy & MC Shantie’s vintage UKF pressure or Brazilian Baile Funk trimmed of subbass. Firmeza’s B-side follows to replace the rap style with a strong showcase of his elevated production levels. On the mesmerising ‘RRRRRR’ vocals are trapped in psychotic, nanoscopic loops and woven with infectiously offset, technoid bass patterns to gripping effect, before the extraordinary ’25’ supplies a masterclass in loose-limbed percussion, and nothing but, in a style nodding to DJ Nervoso that can be taken as Lisbon’s answer to the purist Gqom drum influence of Griffit Vigo upon DJ Lag. It’s all essentially a form of mutant, minimalist techno, and counts as some of the most irresistible dance music on the planet right now.
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