- High-energy drum tracks to freak out Lisbon dance floors.
- The emergence of regional club sounds onto the international stage has, for me, been one of the more exciting developments in dance music over the past five to ten years. I've always had a nagging sense, though, that some aspect of a sound like footwork, gqom or kuduro might get lost in translation. Gqom might have suffered from this a little. Removed from the context of a sticky, ecstasy-fuelled dance floor in Durban, the tracks may seem a little repetitive or one-dimensional. Considering this from a different angle, hearing peak-era minimal without first experiencing it in a club might have had a similar issue. The batida style of DJ Firmeza, who's long been established as a leading DJ in the Afro-Portuguese club music scene, perhaps suffers from this a bit. He'll play at MusicBox in Lisbon for a Príncipe party and create an atmosphere that makes most European dance floors look like a knitting circle. But away from that environment, his tracks and mixes can seem utilitarian.
Príncipe explains that "AVAN" and "Intenso" feature a style of MCing, delivered here by Firmeza himself, called "animação," an improvised, stream-of-consciousness approach to lyrics. This works best on "Intenso," whose vocal interplay, police sirens and percussive bounce give it an anthemic quality. "RRRRRR" and "25," meanwhile, are super stripped-back percussive drum workouts that are perhaps even too minimal for adventurous house DJs. Ardeu shows that for the Firmeza experience, you should dress to sweat and go see him play.