The word “abuela” to us spanish-speaking people reminds us of something familiar, warm, and full of tradition; an affectionate person who makes us feel safe from the grown-up world. If you think this Abuela is anything like that, you’re in for a bad trip.
This Abuela is a duo consisting of former half of Ratatat/recent Jay-Z beatmaker Evan “E.Vax” Mast and Evan Roelofs, better known as White Flight. Roelofs’ solo project started after he ventured to Peru to experiment with hallucinogens and plants. With Abuela he brings Mast to the former home of the Inca Empire to start a fresh project and film this video along the way.
While both musicians are well known for making hip-hop-influenced electronic beats, Abuela is a slightly different beast. On “Sapa” a drum machine propels the beat and keyboards decorate the tune. However, they turn to trippier territory than what they’re known for, thanks to a skewed arrangement and soundboard effects that recall Feels-era Animal Collective. More central to the flavor, a quena andina is used throughout the song, connecting it to the country that inspired the pair.
Remarkably, nothing here feels forced or pretentious. “Sapa” sounds like an ethereal blast of acid-tinged, electronically worn folkloric music, one that’s both regional and contemporary. Look out for their full length later this year.