The Chilean deity known as Kali Mutsa has decided to bless us mortals once again, this time with the release of her latest EP Mesmer. The six-track project debuted earlier this week exclusively on The FADER before becoming available on iTunes yesterday morning. Mesmer is a collection of songs inspired by Franz Mesmer, “a physician during the French Revolution who pioneered spiritualism in medicine,” the singer explained. Kali’s devotion to the healing and psychic powers of music is as present as ever on Mesmer, drawing heavily on reggaeton, old school cumbia, bhangra rhythms, and vintage film samples that together conjure images of wild Bollywood perreo nights.
Mesmer kicks off with the cumbia-tastic “Interstellar,” a slow and immersive waltz through outer space that serves as the EP’s lead single. “El Ojo Interno” is next, and maybe the most musically accomplished track of the bunch. Featuring gorgeous ethereal guest vocals from María Magdalena and masterful co-production from Pablo Stipicic, the song’s driving beat and bombastic horns will transport you from a festival in Delhi to the gates of Heaven. Erasmo Parra, the album’s other main producer, has his hands on tracks like “La Casa Es Negra,” which give the project a decidedly more sensual reggaeton bias. He also worked on “Erotomaniac,” a spastic venture into Kali Mutsa’s id, and “Wakan Tanga,” the singer’s pulsating horn-driven battle cry from lives past.
Kali Mutsa’s vocal acrobatics are some of her most powerful tools of conveyance. Exhibit A: her demented, childlike cackle on “Interstellar” or her intimidating growl on “Wakan Tanga.” Where production and musical references provide the clay, it’s Kali’s own unique singing that molds the songs into special one-of-a-kind experiences. Her speed rapping on “Sanpaku” is a perfect example of her ability to elevate and tie together disparate elements like grime, dembow, and clips of Star Wars translations for a dizzying hyper-kitsch effect.
Kali Mutsa’s maximalist approach to music has always been hard to pin down in terms of style and influence, with her reliance on musical hodgepodge sometimes perceived as jarring. And maybe it is too much, but that’s for each individual listener to decide. We can safely say there isn’t a dull moment in Kali Mutsa’s body of work, and Mesmer specifically is perhaps her most focused effort to date. ‘Focused’ may seem like an odd word to describe a musical kaleidoscope, but the energy on Mesmer lines up with the singer’s previous assertion that she intends on releasing a series of EPs that capture specific moods and eras.
Now that our mind’s eye has been opened to this part of Kali Mutsa’s infinite continuum, we can’t wait for her to guide us through whatever musical portal she summons next.