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New Weird South America is a polyglot’s fantasy

New Weird South America is a polyglot's fantasy

New Weird South America “started half as a joke,” says Guillermo M. Cerredo.

Initially a Fb group based by Cerredo, co-head of Pakapi Data and member of the group Panchasila, New Weird South America was meant to be a area for his music-minded pals to share their findings earlier than evolving into an all-out portal for the South American avant-garde.

From New Weird South America’s weblog and mixtape, in addition to via a community of labels and artists from the area, you’ll discover kaleidoscopic sounds that vary from selfmade subject recordings to pummeling industrial cumbia to darkly psychedelic drones. It’s as numerous because the huge continent itself, reflecting its towering Andean mountains, rural communities and sprawling megacities.


In 2018, London label Discrepant founder Gonçalo F. Cardoso launched a 4 tape run New Weird South America on Discrepant sub-label Sucata Tapes. Main the pack is an album of Panchasila’s grainy, swirling cumbia dub. The opposite three tapes are extra compact however no much less engrossing. Tomás Tello has crafted an distinctive mixtape of Andean music, together with a few of his personal tracks, stitched along with the static of radio transmissions. Los Siquicos Litoraleños’ entry explores comparable territory with an imagined radio recording of their very own freeform people. The run is accomplished by a triple tape cut up shared between Bardo Todol, M.M. Peres and Úgjü Sectas who channel the esoteric sound worlds of Argentinian noise, improvisation and area recordings. This is, unsurprisingly, the place issues get really bizarre.

However what does “weird” imply on this occasion?

For Cardoso, it’s music that doesn’t match a logical narrative, as an alternative representing the messiness of music assembled from seemingly incongruous sources. “In South America, you get bombarded by music everywhere. It’s a cacophony and it’s often about who’s the loudest,” he says. “What these guys are doing is using all of those influences from their continent [like cumbia, reggaeton, salsa] and making it their own.”

Tomás Tello

Cardoso nailed down the form and path of the releases whereas visiting the continent from September 2017 to January 2018. He landed in Bolivia earlier than shifting by means of Peru, Ecuador, the Amazon after which touring down the Brazilian coast. Nearly all of his musical exploration, at the least, was concentrated in three main cities. He frolicked with Luis Alvarado, head of Buh Data, in Lima, Nico Kokote of psych-folk group Los Siquicos Litoraleños in La Pas and Eblis Alvarez of The Meridian Brothers in Bogotá.

“For me, it’s literally the tip of the iceberg,” Cardoso says. “What I’m trying to do is get it to a different audience.” He describes numerous South American cities the place there’s a palpable starvation for the free-willed experimentation he’s targeted on however little income for artists. Exhibits are nicely attended in locations akin to Lima but few individuals are shopping for the music; typically, the music gained’t see a bodily launch in any respect. As an alternative, it’s hosted on Bandcamp or burnt to CDRs and handed round for individuals to tear. “There’s no distribution,” he says. “In terms of a market for records, it’s miniscule.”

Regardless of such a hurdle, the Buenos Aires-based label Pakapi Data has amassed a sizable catalogue of digital releases since 2012. Alongside single-artist albums, Cerredo and his label co-founder and Panchasila bandmate, Juan José Calarco, have launched a string of compilations. Pakapi Compilation Vol​. ​1 arrived in 2013 with La Psicotropia and Industria Tropical within the following years. Most just lately they’ve launched half one and half two of La Danza Del Agua. The label has slowly grow to be a residence for hard-edged digital takes on the area’s rhythms, albeit with a robust dose of psychedelia. On ‘Explanada’, Bloque del Sur creates a heady, dread-filled tackle reggaeton. Elsewhere, Astrosuka & Ornamenti d’oro take a slower beat and scatter disquieting vocal samples and sino grime-esque melodies throughout it.

Los Siquicos Litoraleños

Cerredo and Calarco’s work as Panchasila is a few of the most psychedelic they’ve but launched on Pakapi. Taking the cumbia rhythms of their residence and mixing it with dub, environmental recordings and Southeast Asian movie samples, the duo’s music is spatially immersive, transporting the listener to a new, unsettling sound world. Embedded inside Buenos Aires, Calarco describes a thriving underground scene however one not with out its personal set of issues. “Most venues are not authorized by the city administration,” he says. “They exist in a blurred legality. This might sound cool but it makes it more complex and less accessible for the people outside the scene.”

In Argentina’s countryside, Los Siquicos Litoraleños has slowly carved out an idiosyncratic sound indebted to native people traditions, improvisational and noise music. The group shaped in 2004 in Curuzú Cuatiá, a small rural city in Northeast Argentina. Group founder Nico Kokote describes it as a conservative place, in distinction to the group’s freewheeling experimentalism, however essential to the event of their sound. “You couldn’t have a band like Los Siquicos Litoraleños in a big city,” Kokote says. “We lived very close to each other and there wasn’t much to do except play music all day.” The group would rehearse virtually perpetually, members dropping out and in of prolonged, improvised jams: “I remember playing for something like seven or eight hours. We had time to try a lot of different things and I think that openness helped develop an almost telepathic communication.”


The group has included the native people type of chamamé into their music, in addition to what Kokote describes because the “regional atmosphere” heard from neighbors’ radios. Cumbia, Mexican people music and tacky Argentinian commercials from the ’60s all make their method into the combination. Certainly, Radio Siquica takes the type of an imagined radio station, a nod to Kokote’s vicarious consumption of music by way of his fast setting. It skips between psychedelic, looping rock, lilting acoustic interludes and rhythmic exercises. The group document on no matter gear they will discover, be that Walkmans, four-track recorders, and even digital cameras, layering totally different qualities of sound on prime of each other. Kokote says every sonic layer acts as a “portal to a neighboring universe”, a idea maybe partly influenced by the psilocybin mushrooms rising round Curuzú Cuatiá.

Aesthetically, at the least, Los Siquicos Litoraleños share widespread floor with the work of Tomás Tello, the Peruvian sound artist and founding father of Andesground now dwelling in Portugal. Tello’s launch on Sucata Tapes, Ekeko Combine: Sonidos Transporta Sueños, is a mixtape of his personal music and different artists working within the area, framed by radio static. He data reside, filtering the sounds by means of his AM and FM transmitters and two guitar pedals, deftly weaving Andean bells and flute all through the composition. He was born in Lima however moved to Arequipa, a mountain metropolis, when he was a youngster, a place the place it was troublesome to pay money for devices. “In any analysis of South American music, we always have to think about the availability of the instruments,” Tello says. “It always turns out that the people who have more money are the pioneers.”

Artists reminiscent of Cesar Bolaños spearheaded the Peruvian avant-garde within the mid-twentieth century, aligning electro-acoustic synthesizer music with regional instrumentation. However for Tello, the Peruvian avant-garde exists as a product of the nation’s natural biology. “I think a lot of this avant-garde takes its energy from psychedelia,” he says. “It’s from the plants.” On the age of fourteen or fifteen, Tello would harvest the psychedelic cactus widespread to the world, boiling it right down to launch the psychotropic qualities. Having consumed the substance, he and his buddies would go for walks in Arequipa’s close by countryside, a panorama framed by the towering volcano, Misti. “Just watching that mountain is crazy. The nature in Peru is in your face. Big waves. Big mountains. You feel so tiny,” he continues. “The milky way is also so clear. It’s not such a human world, not so invaded by humans.”

Los Siquicos Litoraleños’ Radio Siquica paintings

Such a sentiment is echoed by Luis Alvarado whose Lima-based Buh Data sits on the middle of a burgeoning experimental scene. “Psychedelia has nothing to do with how much you sound like krautrock,” he declares. “For me, the psychedelic is a mental revolution and you have to disassociate it from a form or an already established sound.”

From the Peruvian capital, Alvarado has targeted on highlighting not solely the nation’s present artists however these of its previous in an effort to inform the story of the South American avant-garde. “My impulse is that the histories of experimental music are Anglocentric or Eurocentric,” he explains. “And that illness is reflected in the criticism and the musical journalism. At the same time, I know that there has been a great vacuum of archival and research work in South America. I want to show there is sound experimentation here that is unique, that has its own conditions and has the right and ambition to rewrite history.”

Alvarado describes a few of the Peruvian digital artists of the ’60s reminiscent of Cesar Bolaños, Enrique Pinilla and Edgar Valcárcel, every working primarily within the educational subject. Then, with the arrival of Miguel Flores, Manongo Mujica, Arturo Ruiz del Pozo and Luis David Aguilar within the ’70s and ’80s, a freer angle using rock, jazz and improvisation was built-in into the avant-garde. “It’s ritualistic, very hypnotic, trance music,” he says. “In a sense, they are the first generation of experimental music artists in Peru.”

Luis AlvaradoCredit: Raul García

In current day Lima, Alvarado organises live shows in a vary of places together with residential houses. “I really like going to those shows where the exchange is very intense,” he says. The Fundación Telefónica Middle, the Amil Challenge and the Cultural Middle of Spain are extra conventional venues the place experimental music has been provided one thing of a residence alongside festivals akin to Worldwide Integraciones Pageant, Ruidismos pageant, and La Trenza Sonora. “There are more labels, more activity, many festivals,” Alvarado says. “There is growth.”

The artists that make up the ultimate launch on Sucata Tapes, Bardo Todol, M.M. Peres and Ugju Sectas, profess to sitting outdoors of such developments. Salvador Cresta of M. M. Peres says he lives within the Colombian metropolis, Córdoba, however that it exudes no influence on his music. Cryptically, he describes himself as neither Argentinian nor terrestrial, as an alternative eager to return to his residence planet of origin. Ugju Sectas, in the meantime, says the three teams exist in isolation. “We’re hermits,” he says, “We don’t have a precise idea of what’s going on in our background.”

Throughout their triple-split launch, Adzer, every of the outfits contribute two tracks. Ugju Sectas shift between shimmering synthesizer work and polyrhythmic percussion whereas Bardo Todol craft what feels like an imagined area recording, occasional distorted squelches interrupting the music like alien alerts. On ‘Semen de Pájaro’, M. M. Peres sits reverb-drenched flutes on a mattress of clinking bells and wheezing drones. Cresta’s accompanying video to the discharge (the English model could be discovered right here) depicts what is perhaps a newly imagined fable or people story detailing a strategy of colonization. Utilizing cease movement animation and an array of contrasting pictures and textures, the video seems like a appropriate introduction to the weird audio territory every artist is mapping.

Salvador Cresta of M. M. Peres

In some methods, it seems to encapsulate the spirit of what’s occurring with a number of the new bizarre South America — music that exists on the nexus of an ancestral people historical past and the bleeding fringe of compositional and sound design. Tomás Tello’s Ekeko Combine is named after Ekeko, a god of abundance and prosperity common within the mythology of individuals throughout Southeast Peru, Northern Chile, Northern Argentina and Bolivia. Nico of Los Siquicos Litoraleños says how essential the twentieth-century Argentinian people artists, Atahualpa Yupanqui and Jorge Cafrune, are to his musical outlook. Every of those singers carried out essential work researching and recording the indigenous songs of the nation, revealing a set of musical roots within the course of.

Tomás Tello describes how such id has been in flux because the early, brutal days of Hispanic colonization of the area launched divergent musical cultures. The indigenous Peruvians devised a track and dance to rid themselves of the Spanish oppressors however then shortly adopted the instruments of their occupiers. “Imagine, in such a close moment to the start of colonization, they were already using Spanish instruments,” he says. “There are very few things that are pure expressions of the old times. You know, instruments standardise tunings, so when a piano or keyboard appears, everyone tunes to that and the music is gone. But the rhythm can persist.”

Cerredo of Pakapi Data and Panchasila agrees, describing a musical tradition stretching deep into ancestral people traditions alongside newer developments from not solely South America but in addition Europe. Finally, he hopes the thought of latest bizarre South America may spur individuals on to additional examine each the music’s current and the previous whereas additionally solidifying connections between artists working at the moment. “I think there is a gap in the region’s media to cover local artists working in a more experimental field,” he says. “But even if we generate minimum interest from other people outside of our social circles, or help to strengthen these existing links, it could be considered an achievement.”

Lewis Gordon is a freelancer author. Discover him on Twitter.

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