Emeka Ogboh - 6°30'33​.​372

  • The experimental artist pens another immersive techno love letter to Lagos, enriched with field recordings that evoke the fast-beating heart of the city.
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  • For the installation artist turned experimental techno producer Emeka Ogboh, there's no place like Lagos. "Be it vehicular sounds (especially car horns), the cries of itinerant hawkers, multilingual conversations, power generators and even the birds, there is a certain quality to the audio level, frequency and intensity [of Lagos]," he wrote in issue 462 of The Wire magazine. The Berlin-based artist's second album, 6°30'33​.​372"N 3°22'0​.​66"E, released on his own Danfotronics imprint, turns up the volume. His first LP, Beyond The Yellow Haze, came out on A-Ton, the ambient sub-label of Berghain's Ostgut Ton. That one weaved field recordings of Lagos through twinkling slow-burners like "Danfo Mellow." It was an excellent debut, especially considering he had only just come to grips with Ableton that same year. The only thing is, Lagos is loud. So loud, in fact, that Ogboh once foiled a friend's plan to surprise him in the city because Ogboh knew instantly, from the background noise on the phone, that his friend was in Lagos. It's that density of sound that makes 6°30'33​.​372"N 3°22'0​.​66"E stand out even from Beyond The Yellow Haze. The album transports us right there. Paste the title into Google Maps and you'll find yourself in Ojuelegba, an area infamous for its hustle and bustle. "Oju 2.0" captures this in detail. Over nine minutes, Ogboh moulds the atonal orchestra of traffic through echo and delay, suspending each element in time. The jarring bleat of a motorbike rings out into the atmosphere until it's swallowed by the long blast of a lorry, and a rattle in the distance suggests a departure from the path, or a bump in the road. Throughout the LP, the commotion reveals as much about Ojuelegba as the people. People are prominent on 6°30'33​.​372"N 3°22'0​.​66"E. "Intro" and "Outro" might not be musical, but their display of character makes them memorable, made from recorded conversations between Ogboh and the drivers of the yellow danfo minibuses that Ogboh has a soft spot for. Danfos are an illicit mode of transport around Lagos, as inextricably linked to the metropolis as London is to its black cabs and double-decker buses. On "Outro," the speaker gets excited about the energy of Ojuelegba, where anything can happen, and in "Intro," the men chuckle about the surrounding chaos, before ending in a sing-song chorus of "Ojuelegba." The name is repeated so often throughout the album you'd be forgiven for thinking it was the name of a missing person or some sort of mantra. Ogboh told Crack that the neighboruhood used to house a shrine to the Yoruba god Eshu, a busy trickster "who serves as a messenger between heaven and earth," a crossroads between destinations. The album's dubby sheen embodies this permeable border between our world and the next. "Wole" (meaning "enter" in Yoruba) chugs along at a ritualistic deep house tempo with an echoing cry of "Ojuelegba" drifting through the air like incense. "We Die Hia" is a cavernous piece of dub with the odd melodica shimmy and synths that ping like droplets falling down a well. And, in keeping with the hectic nature of Ojuelegba, "No Counterfeit"s dub techno seethes, its synths bristling like hackles on a dog's back before the hollow drums plummet. A cacophony might not be soothing, but loudness is too often seen as a nuisance rather than something that has personality. Look at what turning the volume down has done for areas like Brixton in London: you'd need a tour guide nowadays to help you understand the considerable impact and legacy of its West Indian communities. Beyond The Yellow Haze hinted at a similar disappearing culture—the danfos—but even Ogboh admits that there isn't necessarily anything unique about Lagos unless you get really specific. ("Don't get me wrong, Lagos could possibly sound like another Nigerian city, depending on where you are," he wrote in The Wire.) So with each release Ogboh has gone deeper, gradually pulling back the layers until he has arrived at 6°30'33​.​372"N 3°22'0​.​66"E, its beating heart. It might be bloody loud, but it's undeniably Lagos.
  • Tracklist
      01. Intro 02. Wọle 03. Verbal Drift 04. Ayilara 05. No Counterfeit 06. We Die Hia 07. Oju 2.0 08. Outro