Nazar Recreates Urban War Zone in Powerful Semi-Animated Short Film for “Bunker”
'Guerrilla' LP is available now.
The video reconstructs a scene of politically-motivated violence during the nearly three decade-long civil war that took place in Nazar’s native Angola. It’s directed by Rob Heppell, and shot in October 2019 at Studio GKZ, Somerset House, London, and animated while under lockdown in China and the United Kingdom.
The making of the video comes from Nazar’s need to “materialise the concepts” behind the album, which comes from his practice of what he calls the “artistic digitalisation of memories into soundwaves,” which is an audio narrative of his family’s experience of the Angolan war, in which his father was a general, fighting while his family lived in exile in Belgium. “I wanted to take it further, to build these memories into animated imagery,” Nazar says.
The track, which features Shannen SP, is written from the perspective of perspective of someone barricading themselves within the Tropico and the Turismo hotels in Luanda, Angola that accommodated the opposition parties staying in the capital for the 1992 election. When the election erupted into violence, the guests were forced to barricade themselves in their rooms to hide from the government army squads sent to kill them.
“I wanted to create a line of flight through this situation. Initially I tried to create an accurate reconstruction of the actual spaces within the hotels, but through the process this changed,” Heppell explains.
Through researching the Angolan civil war, he wanted to create something that would create the emotional context for the song. “A claustrophobia of ruptured rooms, skeletal remains of luxury hotels, the transformation of personal space turned into political no-man’s land through extreme violence, the shifting centre of an infinite war. The camera moves as the memory of a soul on the breeze through a city experiencing a coup after an election.”
Nazar is a 26-year-old Angolan music producer. In 2018, he coined the term “rough kuduro” to describe his vibrant music which is his own “weaponized” interpretation of the Angolan music and dance style kuduro, a beat growing in popularity throughout the world.
On Guerrilla, released through Hyperdub, Nazar used “rough kuduro” to examine his family’s collective memory and Angola’s past, threading together oral histories, political realities, and most significantly re-imaginings of direct horrors. Each track documents his personal story of the war and its aftermath in a detailed and episodic manner.
Guerrilla LP is available now, with the video streaming in full below.