Music

D.R.’S 12 Electronic Underground Artists To Watch, As Selected By Whitest Taino Alive’s Haru

Dominican Republic is mostly known for merengue, bachata, and dembow, but we’re no strangers to electronica. Whether it’s dance, trip-hop, dub, hip-hop, or experimental, we do it all, so here are 12 projects you might not know about to prove this theory.

Get your dose of Dominican “rabandoleo” with Whitest Taino Alive at Festival Nrmal in Mexico City.

 

Dirk Largo

Only half of Dirk Largo is Dominican, but not just any Dominican. Raymond Fong has been a DJ in D.R. and New York for the past 20 years, producing dance music for the better portion of that. Recently he teamed up with Braden Spaghettis, or, as I like to call him, “the part that was missing.” Together they’re making some amazing music, a little bit on the Nicolas Jaar side of life, but original and fresh nonetheless. This song is part of their upcoming album, which I’ve had the pleasure of hearing in advance and it’s fucking gold, so stay tuned and expect more greatness from these two, and if you’re in NYC, go check them out when they do their live thing.

Calamar Transformer

This project is led by Raúl Fernández, a great musician and sound engineer. You may have heard his work through Carolina Camacho, Gran Poder de Diosa, and César Pineda, since he produced all of them. He can do it all: Produce, write, rap. But don’t take my word for it, listen to it, you’ll see. Or hear. Whatever.

Maeloo

Known in the Dominican club scene as DJ and producer XK, Maeloo is maturing as an artist and you can feel that in his music. He’s one of those guys who lives for music, turning anything into a great beat, always talking about beats, and looking for something to sample. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a bowl of beats every morning for breakfast.

César Pineda

You may know César as Dominicanye West from Whitest Taíno Alive, but you should try to forget everything you know about him before you dive head first into his solo project. This is a great example of how César can give life to many characters and remain pure, real, and most of all, sound amazing. This is Dominican electronica at its best.

Tornadu

I first heard about this project by Gennaro de Santis when he remixed “Piel de Leather” for Whitest Taíno Alive last year and I’ve been a fan ever since. His music is a journey through his influences and the synths pave the way. As you listen you’ll be reminded of great music you’ve heard before, in a really good way.

Doob

Cibaeños keep popping up on this list and I love it and you should too. I was very surprised when I learned this kid was Dominican, since I was playing this track during DJ sets before I knew anything about him. Like they say here in D.R., “Eso parece de fuera.” This track made me wanna dig deeper into what’s going on on the rest of the island. Looking forward to hearing more from Doob. I’m gonna go ahead and call this track “delicious,” just for the Internet haters.

Carmen Cosmos

I learned about Carmen when she was featured on Club Fonograma’s compilation, Papasquiaro, last year. Her specialty: Really chilled tunes and spoken word. Her latest track, “Laguna,” is a pleasant, trippy, soft pornish, chilled track. It’s hard not to enjoy the short ride.

https://soundcloud.com/carmen-nathalia-herrera/laguna

Ricardo Ariel

You’ve heard Ricardo Toribio before as the percussionist on Gran Poder de Diosa, but you’ve never heard him like this before. Chilled, fresh beats are the order of the day and you’ll probably want seconds. I almost sounded like a writer there. Focus on the music, pay no attention to me.

Local Dub

It doesn’t matter what kind of music he’s making, self-proclaimed music nerd Joel Peguero never disappoints. His latest release under his alias Local dub is called Club House EP and it’s a melting pot for everything house related (deep, club, disco, dub, vocal samples, and electrónica). When you listen to it, you’ll wish somebody would play these tracks next time you’re out clubbing.

Superchín

Dominican “experimental electrónica” pioneers, Superchín, were formed by Lenny Pichardo, Alejandro Capellán, Ricardo Fernández, and Elena Fernández, who decided one day to pull out their Casiotones and, you guessed it, experiment. The result was brilliant. They did this album about 11 years ago and recently El Cuarto Elástico decided to re-edit and re-release their work for the next generation to enjoy. I like to call them Boards of Dominicanada.

Zuvenir

A designer, brand guru, and creative person all around—with many musical projects under his belt—Zuvenir is Rafael Melo’s latest solo project, in which he shows how far he’s come since he started playing around with Logic at home a few years ago. He produces, writes, and sings, sometimes in Spanish, sometimes in English. He lets us know where the inspiration for each song comes from, but still manages to keep it original. This song is part of an upcoming EP so keep your ears open.

MizterRab

Following the footsteps of Dominican deep house legend Mr. Oneil, MizterRab brings a very fresh approach to what’s apparently the favorite genre of the Dominican misters. He recently moved to Canada, where he’s freezing his ass off right about now, but all that time in front of the computer will turn into great tunes for sure and it’s gonna be all worth it.