Adios Mundo Cruel and Luiso Ponce: 21st Century Music for 21st Century Ennui

Lead Photo: Últomo Art Work by Luiso Ponce, Courtesy of the Luiso Ponce
Últomo Art Work by Luiso Ponce, Courtesy of the Luiso Ponce
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In the 20th century, many speculated that the dominant music of the future would be electronic – and they were pretty much right. Today, 808s and synths are the norm, yet there’s still a world of experimentation and self-expression in the the more avant-garde corners of electronic sounds. This is a golden age for musicians to try new approaches to musical creation.

LA-based label Night Gaunt has embraced two artists who exemplify that commitment to the left-field. This month, they dropped a pair of tapes from Pablo Dodero and Luis Ponce, two Latin American producers who represent different corners of the experimental universe, each with their own meticulous creative visions.

Adios Mundo Cruel is the latest project from Pablo Dodero, a Tijuana artist who has ventured towards different sonic lands with endeavors like Late Nite Howl and Les Temps Barbares. With Adios Mundo Cruel, Dodero explores a downtempo techno universe layered with philosophical intrigue. Sombra De Cadenas, Cadena de Sombras opens with a pièce de résistance: 11-plus minutes of patiently evolving, thumping, synthesized arpeggios that leverage its minimalistic setup in ways that recall avant-garde pianist Charlemagne Palestine. The sound is simple, but it sets a textural, rhythmic, and even melodic narrative in a sprawling length. The other tracks resort to traditional drum machines to get their point across: a meditation on death not as a tragedy, but as a factual part of existence. The compositions are somber but not melancholy, a setup that is reflective in its intensity.

Nothing as heavy as death is explored on the other release here, but it’s not a light listen, either. Últomo is the debut work of Luiso Ponce, a Guatemalan artist with roots in punk music. He seizes the chance to comment on the urgency of current times and “anxiety syndromes” that have become common today. It’s also more upbeat than Adios Mundo Cruel’s music, but that doesn’t mean it’s club-ready. Luiso relies on analog synths, which means that the sounds present in Últomo are warm, but heavier than expected. Noise continually washes over the music with a foundational starkness. While the project is steeped in more traditional techno, Ponce makes music that stands between the goth-approved EBM subgenre and the Detroit innovators of the 1980s, a sweeping style that will bang for you – if you’re in for a challenging listen.

Both these tapes reflect what it feels like to live in the 21st century in very small and personalized ways – one more existential, the other more emotional. Maybe we shouldn’t be stopping and smelling the flowers, but taking a breath might help us marvel at life as we know it today.

Editor’s note: Pablo Dodero is a Remezcla contributor.