Angel-Ho – Death Becomes Her (4 stars)

Angel-Ho – Death Becomes Her

Infectious second-time round debut from South African artist

Emerging from the murky, fractured, underworldly electronic music of her last release Red Devil, South African producer and DJ Angel-Ho presents her 'debut album proper' as 'a line in the sand'. Featuring her singing and rapping for the first time, the artist known as one of the founders of artist collective NON Worldwide has used this reincarnation to further push the limits of what pop and electronic music can be, both sonically and semantically.

Death Becomes Her is a personal, experimental and unapologetic album, proving Angel-Ho's abilities as an inventive lyricist as well as collaborator (tracks feature appearances from fellow Cape Town artists Queezy and K-$, amongst many others). With everyone from Kanye West to Björk cited as influences, the album maintains the splintered sampling and haphazard drum noise of previous releases, flipped on their head by lyrics about sex, glamour and struggle in an album of 'emancipation and trans identity'.

Constantly riding the tension between chaos and order, hyper-visceral beats on tracks 'Business' and 'Pose' sit next to abrasive high tempos on 'Muse to You' and 'Drama', interspersed with reverb-laden instrumentals. A few tracks on the album are unashamedly club bangers: lead single 'Like a Girl' echoes kwaito music, South Africa's answer to grime, and the mellower '$' is a slice of neo-pop R&B that Destiny's Child would be proud of. In its most surreal moments, jarring references can be heard to Lumidee and, even more unexpectedly, the Bee Gees. As intense as it is infectious, this expression of new identity asserts Angel-Ho as a strong and fundamental voice in the electronic music world. 'Get some popcorn and watch me perform,' she raps. It would be an absolute pleasure.

Out Fri 1 Mar on Hyperdub.

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