This round up of new cumbia from the back half of 2008 almost made the cut for a possible relaunch of Fat Planet back in October, but Discontent beat that idea to the finish line and this post was shelved. As an early Xmas treat, I think the artists herein deserve a seasonal re-up:
Whilst artists such as Nortec Collective have been transposing old world Latin American rhythms onto new world electronica for many years, El Remolon (Andres Schteingart) was one of the first of the ‘new wave’ of cumbia that drifted into the ether in 2007 – a wave that was largely focussed almost entirely in Buenos Aries, and almost entirely around one club, Zizek. Fitting then, that as Zizek morphed their ambitions into ZZK Records earlier in 2008, El Remolon was one of their first releases. The result – ‘Pibe Cosmo’ – is far less obvious than you might expect and the sample plunderphonics that mire other fusion attempts are almost entirely absent. Schteingart’s previous electronic back catalogue (including work as Drole) has stood him in good stead – he clutches the cumbia sensibility to his heart, but the output is uniquely electronic, minimal and understated. ‘Pibe Cosmo’ is prefaced with this mixtape from Schteingart featuring tracks from the album, as well as a couple of remixes and mashes (feat. Princesa, Jahcoozi & Mochipet).
ZZK Mixtape Vol. 4 – El Remolon Pibe Cosmo | mp3 [Buy ‘Pibe Cosmo’]
The Argentinean duo Fauna (Federico Rodríguez and Cristian Del Negro) were also an excellent choice to kick off ZZK’s catalogue. Whilst the production is a great deal more organic than ‘Pibe Cosmo’, it’s certainly no less innovative. It’s less a technical display of new hybrids, and more of a sandbox for Fauna to simply position themselves as filters of multiple local influences – whether that be dancehall, funk carioca, reggaeton or cumbia itself. The gruff vocal components only add to the off-kilter oddity that has been birthed here – titled ‘La Manita de Fauna’ or ‘Fauna’s Little Hand’. Daleduro steps up for production duties on the promotional mixtape.
ZZK Mixtape Vol 3 – Fauna Megamix by Daleduro | mp3 [Buy ‘La Manita de Fauna’]
ZZK’s trio closes with Chancha Via Circuito‘s ‘Rodante’. In his CVC guise, Chancha Vía Circuito has adopted the looped, rhythmical treatments that his name (culled from a local train service) suggests. Tracks generally start with one or two sounds or samples, looped continuously and hurrying along in this vein, with often little change in texture or tempo. A casual listen might numb you to some of the depths of ‘Rodante’, thankfully contributing vocalists such as Princesa and Dutty Artz’s Jahdan Blakkamoore (replaying CVC’s contribution to his ‘We Are Raiders’ EP) continually break in and out – not enough to derail the train concept entirely, but certainly a welcome change of scenery.
ZZK Mixtape Vol.2 Chancha Vía Circuito | mp3 [Buy ‘Rodante’]
Cumbia purists will find most pleasure in ‘Freestyle De Ritmos’ from El Hijo De La Cumbia. Released on dj/Rupture’s Soot Records imprint, Chimango Selektah’s productions are infused with a over a decade’s worth of work within the cumbia sonidera genre. As dj/Rupture notes in a forthcoming interview with ‘discontent’, the ZZK producers are generally adding cumbian flavours to their electronica work, however with El Hijo De La Cumbia, the process is essentially reversed. The results naturally sound far more diverse, the sheer range of influences that Chimango draws from is impressive – the fact that he successfully masters all of them simultaneously, and bends them to his will, is somewhat breath-taking. The African vocal that drops into the cumbia-tech production ‘El Ghetto Va A Mover’ feels absolutely at home, almost necessary, as it floats over a chugging cumbia rhythm.
Pobresita La Cumbia Mix Hip Hop | mp3 [Buy ‘Freestyle De Ritmos‘]