Release Date: Mar 1, 2019
Record label: Hyperdub
Cape Town producer Angel-Ho uses music, as she once put it, as a "medium to articulate the recurring violence on non-white bodies." That violence is both the method and symptom of centuries of colonialism, an observation reflected in the philosophy of NON Worldwide, the transcontinental label she co-founded with Richmond's Chino Amobi and London's Nkisi. "It was interesting for me to have this dialogue between [these countries], considering our colonial histories," Angel-Ho told The Fader. "And creating music that's in resistance." NON has created a borderless network of African artists and those of the diaspora, all set on countering oppressive colonial forces.
Death Becomes Her is a lot, and to untangle it, it helps to know a little bit about NON Worldwide, the collective - perhaps the movement - Angel Ho has run with fellow artists Nkisi (UK) and Chino Amobi (US). In their own words, NON create 'sound opposing contemporary canons' and their output to date has been concerned with pushing dance music to its extremities. NON's whole ethos is grounded in uniting African artists from disparate states and giving them a space to transgress boundaries erected by colonialism, structural racism and cis-het normativity.
Angel-Ho draws inspiration from Björk and Lady Gaga, icons whose personas are integral to their music. The South African artist's own persona is full of fantasy, exuding luxury and femininity. She uses the internet, particularly Instagram, to transmit futuristic fashion and multimedia art from a niche corner of the experimental music world. But this isn't entirely for the sake of performance.
When the NON music collective was founded by the artists Angel-Ho, Chino Amobi and Nkisi back in 2015, one of their main aims was the use of sound to highlight the various social and political issues that numerous diasporas across the world have to face with on a daily basis. The three founders of NON and many of the artists they have collaborated with and released all share some form of intercultural experience, either as living as a minority in an adopted country of having to straddle multiple forms of cultural knowledge and heritage. In an early interview, Angel-Ho argued for the need to collaborate, to spread out, make connections and find affinities with people in similar situations.