“Música de recamara will be the soundtrack to my friday morning depressions.”
––Tony Gallardo (María y José)
“It has an honesty that wraps you in discomfort, and that discomfort is refreshing.”
“[Música de recamara] reminds me of that coffee-colored caramel they put on flan.”
––Cris Cornejo (Capullo)
“What I like the most about Zonzobot is his fidelity to low-fidelity. A lot of people, including myself, get more and more caught up in polishing things, but he uses it as part of a really cool discourse.”
“I like the actual sound of it [Música de recamara]. It’s like when I’m high and drunk and my hearing is all fucked up.”
“Efren Valenzuela is really one of the unsung pioneers of the DIY Mexican electronic music scene. I like that no matter what genre he is working in –– whether it’s the electro-nowave of Orso Verona, the noise-techno of Error.error or the lo-fi folk of Zonzobot –– he’s always remained, and continues to remain, true to himself.”
––Moisés Horta (Hexorcismos/DJ Nombre Apellido/Los Macuanos)
“Zonzobot is the voice of the madcap Peter Pan that lives inside us all.”
––Moisés E. López (Mr. VOID/Los Macuanos)
The critics have spoken. Not really the critics, pues, but a few notable names from the onda nacional, upon which Efren Valenzuela has had an insurmountable influence. Seriously, if you’ve never heard of Orso Verona then, well, you’re not really alone, cause only about ten or fifteen people knew that project even existed. However, his netlabel Lalala4e –– which continues strong to this day after nearly a decade in existence –– did, in fact, spawn a new wave of Mexican producers and singer-songwriters, and we continue to hear traces of it in acts like María y José, Capullo, Los Macuanos, Dani Shivers, The Lowers crew, Carlos Pesina’s endless slew of projects and side-projects (Los Amparito, Micropapitas, Francisco y Madero, etc.), and just about everyone else producing bedroom pop in Mexico today. Now, Valenzuela has returned under yet another moniker, this time Zonzobot, in what is perhaps his most denuded and sincere iteration.
Música de recamara is not a hard album to pinpoint. It’s bare-bones bedroom pop, consisting of no emotional filters and only the lowest of production values. In Valenzuela’s case, however, the latter proves to be an asset, as it –– to quote Matilda Manzana –– plays into his discourse, his whole aesthetic and ethos. It’s unfiltered, no-holds-barred music, that reduces pop to its most fundamental elements, and possesses an off-kilter sensibility that lends the most saccharine and candid ballad with an occasional WTF moment. (See: “Me quiero morir”). He dabbles in politics as well, although not the typical way that you and I understand the protest song, but rather through a highly novel and subjective approach, which is at times empathetic, and is very ad hoc with today’s mostly a-political generation (see: “Enrique” as in Peña Nieto).
Valenzuela recently released the first “single” from his new album, titled “Denisse” –– via Mexican blog 8106.tv –– a bittersweet ballad (that could well be a corrido), about a young couple who go out to eat tacos, get pulled over by police for drinking illegally on the streets and, well, just listen to it. It’s a moment of sheer tragicomic genius. You can download the entire album via Lalala4e’s website for FREE (as in zero pesos/dollars). That’s a small price to pay for some of the finest songwriting coming out of the Mexican indiesphere today.