The experimental Cape Town based performance artist, producer, and singer/songwriter Angel-Ho, who co-founded the now-defunct NON Worldwide collective with Chino Amobi and Nkisi, released her new EP Alla Prima on September 25.
The five-track EP is a follow-up to her 2019 album, Death Becomes Her, and is Angel-Ho’s second release on Hyperdub.
Alla Prima (Wet on Wet) is an Italian phrase that refers to applying wet on wet oil paint in painting, without letting the other layers dry, embracing the unpredictability of the mix.
It also directly translates as ‘on first attempt’ and it’s an apt description of not only the feel but also how Angel-Ho recorded vocals on Alla Prima; one-take freestyles warped and edited against production duo Bon’s wild, atmospheric, 3d prod.
Angel has had a busy lockdown: she starred as the covergirl of revamped EXIT’s August edition and self-released Woman Call (featuring “Kisses Taste Like Honey”) on April 24. Her song “Watch Me Dance” received South African radio airplay and Angel-Ho premiered her new song “Juice” on BBC Radio This Morning with Marryann Hobbs.
“Alla Prima is a meditation on beautiful imagery that I describe in rap! Bon and I created a experimental hip-hop EP that I whipped up during lockdown and this is the result darlings,” said Angel-Ho.
Alla Prima brings an experimental edge to hip-hop, a style Angel-Ho calls “hip-hop haute couture,” and deals with themes like sex positivity, trans-mythology and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Everything I recorded on Alla Prima is at first attempt, mixed with unpredictablity. Not your average girl here,” she said of the making of the EP.
“[I’m] so grateful for Alla Prima, I’ve learned so much more about music since this point it was a catalyst for everything good in life and wanted to make something that could play at home for listening.”
Many artists seem to struggle with painting alla prima. This usually comes down to a lack of understanding about how to control and manipulate paint. Other times it is because of an inability to paint loose and relaxed. Angel-Ho has no such qualms in her particular art-form. She displays a strong understanding of her subject, mixes light and dark effortlessly and her vocal brushstrokes are precise.
The tracks are a wild ride: hard and sexy with unapologetic swag and sass. The one-take, freestyle vocals flow easily over productions by Bon, the London duo whose list of collaborations also includes Gaika and Mykki Blanco.
The result is a coherent and tightly produced EP with zero skips and five absolute bangers to celebrate our collective release from lockdown. Alla Prima should be added to your Pride Playlist.
You can stream and purchase your copy of Alla Prima here: https://angel-ho.bandcamp.com/