When most people talk about Xochimilco, they immediately think about trajineras, flowers, colors, and drinking while sailing the narrow canals of the Mexican borough. It isn’t directly associated with dark techno and hard beats, but local producer Jorge Sánchez is about to change all that. He just released his new five-track EP, the wonderfully punny Chon Lennon (“chon” means “panty” in Mexico), under his Bruha moniker, and it sounds like it was carefully designed to soundtrack a night of living on the edge.
Chon Lennon is a straightforward club record. It bears repetitive rhythmic patterns characteristic of techno, but overall, it’s menacing and somber, like some dark entity is behind the turntables – one who wants to make you dance and have nightmares at the same time. Opening track “Ladra” begins with some detuned synths and evil vocals that are pitched up and down. An ominous voice repeats “ladra” and some other inscrutable commands over and over, as the beat slowly creeps into the picture. The simple mix of deep kicks and white noise hi-hats quickly meet with programming that resembles house music. The beat builds, adding grooves with acid-like growling bass.
The title of the EP isn’t the only reference to the late Beatle. “Yoko Ono” grapples with the narrator’s desire to both be like the Japanese artist and have a wife like her. Even if the reason behind his fascination for Ono is unclear, the track bears a more mechanical techno beat, one that plays with dynamics mostly through the opening and closing of filters and introduction of subtle elements. “Campechano Darks” develops in a similar fashion, but even though it also features mean, distorted vocals and a sinister chord progression, the added Latin percussion lightens things up, making it resemble a Cómeme release.
By the time “Calzon Tennis Nuevos” kicks in, you’ll be an expert at the Bruha beatmaking scheme, since the song retains the conceptual framework of the three tracks that preceded it. But it still provokes a physical reaction; you can’t help but get up and dance. Chon Lennon ends with the six-minute track “Imagínate,” a more experimental moment that embraces melody without apology. 80s synths fill the room with melodic leads, while a deep voice incessantly repeats “imagínate” from start to finish. The little percussive touches and sci-fi sounds send it right to space, keeping ears pricked.
Chon Lennon is a successful club-oriented EP, one that excels at consistency from start to finish, even though it sacrifices diversity. But it will still rock techno lovers out there, as well as people who need to escape life for a minute and aren’t afraid of stepping into Bruha’s wicked world.
Listen to all of Bruha’s Chon Lennon EP here.