Sara Eckerson and brothers Antonio and Alberto Arruda are Niagara, a Portuguese trio who first appeared in 2011 with a six-track CDr via Dromos Records. Since then, they've affiliated themselves closely with Príncipe, the leading Lisbon-based label with a focus on artists based in the capital, including DJ Marfox, DJ Nigga Fox, and DJ Lycox—though Niagara's new slowed-down house-oriented/post-punk aesthetic is a stark contrast to the fast-paced Kuduro and Batida rhythms of the aforementioned. Having debuted on Príncipe in 2013 with Ouro Oeste, they've returned with two EPs—2015's Ímpar and 2016's São João Baptista—and, most recently, a debut album, Apologia, a "patchwork of today's moods of exotica" with some "sparse synth work reminiscent of Blade Runner's skyline," the label explains. Elsewhere, they've shared material via Videogamemusic [Canas; 2015], FTD, a London-based label run by Charles Drakeford, and their own Ascender, founded in 2015.
Their XLR8R podcast is a collection of ambient cuts, perfect for listening in the car or, even better, through headphones on a cold and rainy afternoon. It has a psychedelic feel to it, especially to begin with; abstract vocals and warped melodies reign early on but are soon joined by distorted beats, before these fade away as the mix reaches a close. It's a mix that must be listened to closely for full effect, so put the headphones on and drift away.
What have you been up to recently?
We've been recording some new music and finishing up some new songs we want to put out next year.
You’ve just released your debut album via Príncipe. How do you feel it compares to your earlier work?
We feel it is the natural continuation of everything else we've done before.
When and where was the album recorded?
The album was recorded during last year. Although one of the songs is a little bit older. All the tracks were recorded and produced in our studio outside of Lisbon.
The album’s style is described as "Fourth World PLUS.” What do you mean by this?
Our friends at Príncipe came up with that term to describe the record. We believe they wanted to capture the general atmosphere of the record, that we believe is very varied.
When and where was this particular mix recorded?
This mix was recorded on October 6 in our studio, the same place where we recorded the album.
How did you select the records you included?
We picked tracks that are nice to listen to at home.
What was the process behind it—was it recorded in one take?
It was recorded all in one take, by mixing records into each other on two turntables and a mixer.
Was there a particular idea you were looking to convey?
We wanted the mix to generate a cool vibe, without a lot of peaks, but also without getting too monotonous.
What equipment did you record it on?
One old Behringer mixer and two Technics Sl 1210 mkii.
What else do you have coming up this year?
We don't have any plans until the end of this year. But, beginning next year there will be some new music out on Ascender.
Due to temporary issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the podcast here.
01. Carl Craig "Sleep"
02. Cluster "Ufer"
03. Oasis "Oasis Eight"
04. Blod "Lär Av Historien"
05. Pyrolator "minimal tape 1/2.3"
06. Moebius & Plank "Muffler B"
07. Aardvärck "Somewhere"
08. Conrad Schnitzler "20.8.86"
09. D. Moebius "Sad"
10. Mike Ink "Dativ"
11. Maurizio "Locked Groove"
12. Terrence Dixon "Like a Thief in the Night"
13. Cluster "Falls"
14. Public Image Ltd. "Hymie's Him"
15. Esognomig "Sonig 09"