The socio-political context in Venezuela in the beginning of last decade, for better or worse, generated the perfect conditions for musicians to throw themselves to producing electronic music at home. At a time when there was a nationwide strike, instrument prices went through the roof, and bands didn’t last long because one or more of the members fled the country in search of a better life abroad. In this sense, the practicality of being able to produce music alone using “free” (pirated) software was God-sent. That’s how most of the successful Venezuelan electronic producers today started, like Cardopusher, Sunspslash, Pacheko, Jimmy Flamante, and even Arca, back when he went by his Nuuro alias.
And guess what? Apart from the strike part, the situation today is pretty much the same. So, there’s a lot of local electronic music up for grabs, you just have to find it. Thanks to the curatorial duties of labels like Cocobass or Pilla Records, just to name a couple, some of these productions are easily accessible. But if you’re a little lazy, here we recommend you five of our favorite Venezuelan producers right now.
Ferraz / Valencia
e have covered Ferraz’s work here before, and he’s definitely one of this year’s most pleasant surprises. His debut EP, 1977 (2014, Cocobass), is solid and refreshing, and his production work on Marti Ann’s First EP showcased his versatility, while being able to keep a signature sound that is crisp, precise, soulful, and fun. From house to funk to R&B, Manuel Ferraz is one to watch out for.
Dahni / Caracas
Daniel Elorza used to go by the name Kiev for a couple of years, making Earth-rumbling and classy dubsteb and UK funky, and managing to release his music through international electronic music labels. Now as Dahni, he leans towards house and garage, even throwing in some elements of funk. He just put out his first EP under this new moniker, called Marbles/Black Light, on the British label Blood Music, and it’s as elegant as it is dancefloor-ready.
VFRO / Valencia
The first sample of what VFRO is capable of was the single “Brinca,” and it was a show-stopping collage of moombahton, trap, and merengue, featuring the awesome beatboxer Jhoabeat. He followed it with Combo, a massive-sounding three-track EP of trap goodness, with a little bit of something that sounds like future reggae. Call it what you want, global bass, tropical bass, but VFRO is killing it.
Pocz / Caracas / London
Carlos Mayoral, a.k.a. Pocz, is better known for his changa tuki explorations alongside Pacheko (who now lives in Barcelona and goes by the name Phran) and his early starts as a dubstep producer. But now Pocz moved to London and is about to release a brand new LP he recorded in Caracas and titled Tropidark. And, shockingly, it’s just that: a twisted mix of tropical rhythms filtered through the harsh lens of techno, setting the tone for a dark dance party.
∆ N Z O L ∆ / Caracas / Toronto
Perhaps this will be a new discovery for Venezuelans as well, since ∆ N Z O L ∆ started sharing his electronic tracks after he left the country a couple of years ago. He makes a sweet and sort of abstract brand of hip-hop from the school of Flying Lotus. Broken beats and wonky bass lines are common on his music, as well as floaty pads and vocal snippets, and the results are always pleasing.