Ever since it was founded in 2013, Peruvian imprint Matraca has taken it upon themselves to support up-and-coming producers from all around Latin America in their quest to explore the never-ending possibilities of electronic music. This approach took a more focused course this year when the label launched its new Matraca Global series. Now, they’re raising the stakes with a brand new mammoth compilation, Nueva Ola PE-MX.
Gathering 23 unreleased tracks in total, Nueva Ola PE-MX features, as its name suggests, the work of producers from Peru and Mexico in an attempt to find common ground between the club scenes of both countries and celebrate their differences. It gives us a glimpse of how the next generation of Mexican and Peruvian producers are shaping up to be.
While it wasn’t necessarily part of the concept, the tracks from Nueva Ola PE-MX that stand out the most are the ones that involve some sort of reinterpretation of their creators’ local sounds. For instance, 22-year-old Monterrey producer Alfonso Luna brings tribal guarachero’s flavor to “ImperActuoso,” a dark, circular dancefloor smasher decorated with what sounds like samples of a Japanese koto.
Tribilin Sound and Álvaro Isla’s joint track “La Voz,” released under their Afrobomba alias, gives an airy juke beat some rest with an Afroperuvian rhythm performed on cajón, and the result is beautiful. And if you needed that palpable link between Mexico and Peru, Queretaro’s Carrillo Stereo brings a tasty slice of cumbia on “Cholulita Style,” amping up the beat to make it more irresistible than it already is. On the other hand, 200DB’s attempt to mash up Andean flutes with a gnarly dubstep beat does manage to shake the ceiling, but it ends up sounding dated.
Some of the other compilation participants didn’t exactly reference local sounds, but they still found a source of inspiration in Latin American rhythms. “Apurao” is Lima’s Qosmiqu shot at 150BPM, funk carioca’s breakneck child, and he hits the nail on the head by introducing Jersey club to the party. Fellow Limeño Fer Lerant also raided his funk carioca sample library to create “Waterbed,” a breezy banger sprinkled with a bit of Kendrick Lamar. Both Blasta Masta and Santho Mhiércoles twist dembow until it is almost unrecognizable, but Tyhlo went for a poppier reggaeton-lite moment on “Dicen Por Ahi,” the only track on the compilation that features original vocals.
Nueva Ola PE-MX jumps from one club genre to another, but it still makes sense. From breakcore to drum & bass to techno, there’s something for everyone. But there is a healthy amount of juke and footwork on the compilation, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since it’s one of Matraca’s genres of choice. It’s most striking track, and arguably the best one of the whole bunch, actually comes from the label’s head honcho Lukrø and Youk. “Fuego” is a tribute to the late black Peruvian artist Nicomedes Santa Cruz, who can be heard reciting his beautiful poem “América Latina.” The producers use this recording not only to connect the dots between Mexico and Peru, but between the entire Latin American territory.
With Nueva Ola PE-MX, Matraca made a free-form exercise on regional integration. In this context, the result feels more successful on some tracks than others, but it is definitely a solid display of creativity and a fresh way of exploring and filtering electronic music.
Check out Nueva Ola PE-MX here: