If you’re not of Argentinian ancestry or aren’t accustomed to talking to an Argentine in Spanish, then your first conversations with this album might reflect the same sonic-riddled experience I had traveling through the Yucatán peninsula, staying at a hostel in Mérida and befriending two beautiful Argentines. I was perplexed by their slang and ocean-tiding “sh”-laden words and the subtle Italian inflections in their Spanish, while equally as enthralled by the beauty of their accent and the shushing swell in their intoxicating mannerism. Over breakfast, I’d just smile and nod at every word of my new friends, in utterly blind agreement. Even after a year living in Mexico, thinking and breathing in Spanish, my brain couldn’t wrap around these perplexing South Americans.
DJ Juan Data, the Argentine-born, Bay Area resident, proposes here a little insight into the enigmas surrounding our South American lovelies. Much like a mystical journey through Graciela Iturbide-esque photo documentation of Mexico, DJ-JD comes at his expatriated ethnomusicology like a professor, carrying the listener through his nostalgia for madre tierra like some long lost son of Zion. Just saying, this is what it sounds like when a dude who knows his history –like he makes his future— drops a li’l blip in musical memory. If you haven’t been a fan of Data’s expert music coverage, like here on Remezcla, than you dunno music. And if you don’t like this album then, Imma have to accuse you of the same. It’s as simple as that.
The intro track, “Larvasaurio’s Revenge,” featuring Pablo Freakman is a masterful meshing of hip-hop oriented sounds. Lemme tell you what’s happening on this opener; Freakman is heard harassing the DJ. He wants to hear some good old rock ‘n roll, unsatisfied, if not disgusted with that played-out, stereotypical cumbia-shit. In much the same way, as perhaps many of your Lat. Am. modern art-type friends might fuss over, Data presents the crux of this battle between the kitsch and the culturally elite influences as the context — the prelude to his premier album. Frankly, he puts the debate at the forefront of his proposition. His music says, “Look y’all, this is who we are, like it or not.” And, you’re either okay with it, or you move on. An effective and contemporary dynamic takes place, reflecting the juxtaposing rhythms and social circles, that many of today’s dynamic artists find themselves traversing. If you understood anything I just said, that means you’ll appreciate this album.
“Salchichón Primavera,” featuring LA-based Argentinian, Tami reminds me of some old school freestyle ’90s synthpop about nothing, but I’m sure there’s a meaning behind all that double talk about sausage and deli meat. “Alta Farra” features Gabriel Navia’s Andean folk instrumentals and gives the track an added element of roaring authenticity. This is something you’d only hear from a real music obsessed cat. The poetic punch in this all “A” vowel-focused , Arabian-sounding mantra, rings like a religious text. Something to sift through for meaning after careful dissection and perhaps a course in linguistics.
This isn’t a banger you slam on the speakers and blare over life. This is an album to sit close with. A definite headphone head-bobber that begs for a close and careful listen. Juan Data’s manifestation as Bondi Blaster is accurate. Data himself is much akin to a precarious combi-comparison, he’s a guagua guru, if I may. His artistry definitely comes through loud and clear with this very concept-driven album. My only complaint is I wanna hear more of the “Bondi blast,” perhaps? Where the ample mixes drive the richness of the 5 original tracks, I feel like I was ripped off (well, I mean if I paid for this album, that’s how I’da felt…). But, my eagerness for more Data aside. This one’s an all-together decent travel through space and time. Like a modern sound instillation piece, the thought and intention behind tracks like “Boliguay Express” offer a bus ride through often amalgamated countries — a culturally-crisscrossing caravan. The album as a whole reads as a backpacker’s travel guide through sound.