Explore the New School of Argentine Digital Cumbia With This Compilation From Waxploitation

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Waxploitation
Courtesy of Waxploitation
Read more

Back in 2012, Argentine mainstay ZZK Records and American imprint Waxploitation joined forces to curate and release their joint compilation album Future Sounds of Buenos Aires. Producers like El Remolón, The Peronists, Frikstailers, and Chancha Via Circuito, among others, popped up on the tracklist; they were already buzzing in the local music circuit at the time. Even if the comp highlighted some of the buzzier acts, the two labels did foresee the future, not because the artists included blew up and became huge stars in their country – they didn’t – but because they went on to influence the work of up-and-coming talents in the country’s electronic scene.

Five years later, Waxplotation are proving they got it right the first time with a follow-up compilation titled Future Sounds from Argentina. The project echoes with the sound of some of the ZZK originals; what some people thought would be a fad – call it digital cumbia if you want – has evolved and, luckily, isn’t slowing down anytime soon. This is a snapshot of what’s happening in the Argentine electronic music scene right now, which vibrates with a variety of genres – from techno to hip-hop – and a special organic sensibility that pays homage to regional sounds.

Two of the producers featured on the compilation, Barrio Lindo and Lagartijeando, have become key players in the scene, and they happen to come straight from the ZZK family. Both artists released new projects this year via labels Shika Shika and Wonderwheel Recordings, respectively. The scene veterans are keeping the Andean musical tradition at the center of their craft, mastering an artistic vision that has put them at the forefront of the movement that has come to characterize the Argentine underground.

Like-minded artist Kaleema is rising fast in the local electronic community, with long-awaited debut album Nómada finally set to drop next month. She’s building momentum through her delicate productions that feed from the continent’s folkloric traditions, along with extensive touring and collaborations with Chancha Via Circuito and Lido Pimienta.

Villa María sextet Madre Chicha and producer SidiRum have used the power of cumbia and touring – the former, locally; the latter, internationally – to build successful careers, while Camanchaca’s and Barda’s music has resonated with fans for its reinvention of typical dance genres like techno and synth pop. The rest of the list – with the exception of Klik & Frik, also known as Frikstailers in their contemplative techno incarnation – includes new artists who, in most cases, are carrying the torch of experiments in future folklore. Last but not least is Macha Kiddo, a Costan Rican implant who’s tinkering with UK grime.

Don’t take Future Sounds of Argentina as a prediction just yet, but rather as a fantastic document that works wonderfully as a gateway into the country’s current scene. Ask us in a couple of years if they got it right this time, too.

Future Sounds of Argentina is out now on Waxploitation Records.