Dominican Producer Adriel Explores Tainofuturism With a Sci-Fi Retelling of Anacaona’s Story

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Adriel
Courtesy of Adriel
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Dominican producer Adriel blew up our Nuevo Noise playlist on Spotify with “Jevita,” a steamy space-age collaboration with Jeremy García. Now he’s going full-on sci-fi with a new song series framed in what we’ll refer to from now on as Tainofuturism.

On his 2015 album Merengue Dance Club, opening track “Invaders” set the foundation for Adriel to imagine an alternate universe where the Spanish didn’t colonize the island of Hispaniola and Tainos kicked them out instead. Following this concept, he is launching a series aptly titled Invaders, made up of tracks which will ultimately form an EP, each of which chronicle a part of the story.

The series’ newest installment is “Invaders II: Anacaona Visions,” a reference to the Taina chief who famously negotiated with Christopher Columbus, then resisted occupation from colonizers after they began to pillage the island. Anacaona was eventually murdered by hanging. “There was something about her [story that caught my attention] and it was her death,” Adriel tells Remezcla. “From what I’ve read, she approached the colonizers with a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm. That would have had changed significantly if she had felt something that told her, ‘This is dangerous; go away.’”

This track represents that “something:” a vision she may have had about her destiny. For Adriel, it takes the form of an electro pop composition with glitch-hoppy fills and videogame-style synth arpeggios, which build up like bricks to illustrate Anacaona’s premonition. Adriel ended the track with a rewind, a nod to the film trope of character flashbacks.

As a skilled illustrator, “Invaders II: Anacaona Visions” offered Adriel the chance to explore both of his creative passions. The young artist actually drew and digitally colorized the cover art, and will do the same for upcoming installments. His inspiration couldn’t be more appropriate: “It comes from reading the Amazing Spider-Man comics, especially a series called What If, where you can see Spider-Man (one of my favorite superheroes) on different timelines,” he reveals. “Also, the movie Interstellar and a new series by DC Comics called DC Universe: Rebirth.”

Visions as intricate as Adriel’s are hard to find nowadays, let alone ones which tap directly into the Dominican and Haitian indigenous roots. We can’t wait to see – and hear – how the story ends.

Adriel’s Invaders II: Anacaona Visions will be available on Spotify soon.