We typically imagine that teleportation would take us to a real place – a moment in time, whether past or future, that’s more preferable to the one in which we currently exist. Balún‘s new single, “Teletransporte,” however, sparks a new fantastical thought: What if instead we could go where multiple points of time-and-place converge?
Traveling there would probably be unsettling, maybe a little frightening at first — a smooth, easy hop into another plane of existence seems unlikely. The gateway Balún creates is one of sporadic plucks, a slow-and-steady electronic syncopation and a sole, repeating string like a searing cry; founding frontperson Angélica Negrón’s soft, soporific vocals are the only comfort here. A burst of elation a minute-and-a-half in, though, and we’ve arrived at a place where early 2000s UK grime, 90s dembow, post-industrial, and ethereal, early CocoRosie-esque outsider folk coalesce into a velvety meld. The arrangement makes connections between those styles feel like a revelation, like they was always there; we just needed Balún’s eyes to see the links in a unifying new light.
“Teletransporte” follows “La Nueva Ciudad” as the second lead-up track to Prisma Tropical, the New York-via-Puerto Rico band’s sophomore album. At this point, dreambow, the descriptor they’ve coined for this latest incarnation of the shapeshifting group’s sound, seems like an unbeatably apt explanation for the idiosyncratic plane Balún is on. It works — but only if the dream aspect includes the infinite array of influences subtly tied in by the members’ own frames of reference: Negrón is a classically trained composer with New York Philharmonic work on her resumé; Raul Reymundi, the guitarist, was an integral member of the Puerto Rican punk band Las Ardillas; José Olivares is a beat-making specialist; bassist Nora Ruiz, who on “Teletransporte” integrates a homemade tiple, is a PhD ethnomusicologist who’s studied Puerto Rican folk extensively.
As the full-length reveal draws closer, the logic of this title has become incredibly clear. This outing is built on interconnectivity, on dispersing unexpected energies into a spectrum that works as one collective entity — a Prisma Tropical of musical moments forged into a singular, peculiar place.
Balún plays Remezcla’s SXSW showcase Shattering Stereotypes on Thursday, March 16. For more info and to RSVP, click here.