Eclectic house and techno from an essential Lisbon artist.
For magickal spotters, this is the Nuit of Aleister Crowley's spiritual philosophy, though the lack of additional references to this rich seam of symbolism makes the theme feel threadbare. Still, fittingly enough for an echo of ancient history, Rodrigues has doubled down on vintage sounds to produce a set of tracks sequenced to "wax and wane like the moon." A good proportion of the album's 11 cuts are geared for the floor, channeling the raw euphoria of early house and techno with liberal use of harsh claps, roughed-up basslines and big acid burps. "Ode To Nuit," 'Shakti" and the brilliantly deranged "Genesis" all share a no-frills, machinic intensity. Combined with the album's theme and cover art—depicting an Eye Of Horus and an Egyptian ankh—it's hard not to hear the influence of Hieroglyphic Being, who owns the trademark on the fusion of gnarly acid house and Kemetic symbolism.
These retro adventures in acid and techno wouldn't be of huge interest were they not interspersed with more eclectic material, reflecting Rodrigues' agility as a DJ, capable of moving freely between four-on-the-floor and the wider world of broken and syncopated rhythms. That skill was on display in his Angel Heart EP from earlier this year, an undeniably contemporary buffet of booty-hefting breaks, full-fat kicks, Afro-Latin percussion and mixed-up rhythms. Nuit, in contrast, feels more reverent. There's a certain archival flavour to the tracklist—an electro one, a techno one, even a Balearic one as he dips into Italo bliss on "No Body"—which is well suited to the Dark Entries catalogue, with its focus on vintage represses. It could even be read as a subtle tribute to Rodrigues' early days as a DJ, playing records at Incognito, a punky spot in the centre of Lisbon where weekday nights offered obscure Italo and electro.
Nuit doesn't have the cutting-edge bluster of Photonz's best singles—the rackety rave of "1551" remains unbeatable, for me. But between moments like "Genesis," which tumbles through a psychedelic wormhole in the album's closing minutes, and the dreamy, cumbia-inflected daze of "Celestial Palace," there's no shortage of vision. Disregard the meagre conceptual hook and Nuit is a solid showing—an eclectic and well-sequenced hour on the dance floor from an artist who deserves a bigger profile.