- Unlike the Príncipe label's core Afro-Portuguese artists, Niagara take cues from the European club scene. The trio's house music remains deeply eccentric, though, its sonorities bright and its rhythms ramshackle. Their third EP for the label, São João Baptista, a scrawl of clapped-out drums and spidery guitars, highlights their idiosyncrasies. Sonically, the trio have found new ways to make the analogue and the electronic sit well together; stylistically, their mutant-funk tendencies are given freer rein.
On "Asa" they're positively free range. The track's kick drum foundation is solid, but the erratic conga hits, sour Rhodes chords and vintage funk lead seem to be following their own respective agendas. The results recall Miles Davis's fusion era at its knottiest. "Laranja" uses live instrumentation less effectively. In this case it's a flute, pirouetting coyly around whooshes of filtered synth. The drum machine holding it all together is swung to the point of stumbling, and the overall effect is aimless rather than oblique.
The rest of the EP is loopier but keeps the anarchic feel. "IV" focusses on the interplay of synth parts—tart chords, a squelchy bassline, wandering midrange melodies—that are slowly blurred together until the whole mix is a pungent smear. In the distance, a voice mumbles and shouts through a hailstorm of delay. "Amarelo" is a garden shed reboot of big-room techno. The bashing 4/4 is there, along with rising klaxon tones and snares that whip up cresting waves of white noise, but the guitar loops on top are janky as hell.