Source of Denial is the second LP from Nihiloxica, the Bugandan techno outfit hailing from Kampala, Uganda. It comes after more than three long years since Kaloli, their acclaimed debut on Crammed Discs.
The album points a (middle) finger at the hostile immigration and freedom of movement policies implemented in the UK, as well as across the world. Fueled by their frustrations with this intentionally convoluted system, the group have produced their most cataclysmic effort to date.
Returning to the Nyege Nyege studio in Kampala where the band recorded their early EPs, the band tracked Source of Denial over an intense month of sessions in early 2022. The cover art is emblazoned with an ultra-metallic new logo, echoing the growing presence of metal influences across the tracklisting, while the hi-vis, official-document styling wryly evokes the bureaucratic nightmare at the heart of the project. Tracks like Asidi and Baganga flirt with the dystopian, mechanical patterns and tonalities of djent godfathers Meshuggah, while the gargantuan synth line of the title track summons the spirit of an 8-string guitar, synthesised palm-mutes and all. This is all effortlessly compounded with the molotov cocktail of Bugandan ngoma (drums) and club sounds the group have become revered for. On tracks like Olutobazzi, Postloya and Trip Chug, the drums themselves are reanimated and manipulated more than ever before, further blurring the line between tradition and techno.
The only spoken words we hear throughout the album, outside of studio outtake Preloya, are computer generated. They speak of application processes, character backgrounds, and accountability, blasted through crackled phone speakers. The effect is a Kafkaesque feedback loop: an avalanche of constant call tones, uncanny British accents and rigorous interrogative questioning. The frustrations are a problem the band, a defiantly global outfit, has faced continuously. A whole UK tour was cancelled in 2022, and recently, a UK show had to be performed with only three members due to problems with a certain conglomerate visa agency who “provide services” for the UK, as well as a growing number of countries.
“We wanted to create the sense of being in the endless, bureaucratic hell-hole of attempting to travel to a foreign country that deems itself superior to where you’re from. We’re focussing on the UK as that’s where we’ve had the most trouble, but the problem goes much, much further. In this system if you have a certain passport or have even visited a certain country then you’re an appropriate subject to be interrogated and insulted time and time again just to prove that you’re worthy to enter, and normally this involves proving you have a good enough reason to want to leave again! The arrogance of it is unbearable. This album was a way to express our disdain towards it... What exactly is the source of your denial? Your passport? Your bank balance? Your skin colour? You’ve paid huge sums of money to be thrown from one profit-driven “service centre” to another, each denying responsibility, each limiting your right to freedom of movement as a human being. Despite some other serious humanitarian shortcomings, Uganda accepts some of the highest numbers of refugees in the world. Meanwhile the UK is trying to send them away to Rwanda. That says it all.” - Nihiloxica