Ponce’s Versatility Shines on His Piano-Driven House EP ‘El Camino’

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Our buddies at NWLA and Mexican label Rock Juvenil have paired up once again to bring us Ponce‘s latest EP, El Camino. The producer, born Leonardo Ponce, wanted to put together a sort of closure to his impressive and diverse 2014 album Viejo. For this project, he rescued two album outtakes, a remix of one of his songs by Brutus, and another rework of a Centavrvs song.

Viejo is an album full of unexpected turns, where Ponce jumps between being a singer-songwriter and a club-oriented electronic producer, or simply sits right in the middle. He also jumps from theatrical emotion to straight-up pop joy. He manages to showcase some of this wide range on El Camino‘s two original tracks. The title track/album opener actually feels like a condensation of his versatility; it’s a song about finding out what you really want to do with your life. This is a song that could perfectly work with just piano and vocals, but it’s taken in a different direction with the bass music-inspired beat. The verses’ piano riff is full of drama, but the chorus is as sticky as it gets. This song is the true star of the EP.

Prince” is a steady instrumental number with house influence and a dark atmosphere. It sounds like he took elements from mainstream electronic music, as evidenced by the lead synth chord stabs. This is Ponce going straight to the club. Right after, we hear Brutus’ interpretation of one of the album singles, “El Muerto.” He has reimagined it as a more chilled-out and spacious version of the original, and it feels more dense and nervous. Brutus has injected the track with playful synths and a simple beat that speak the language of hip-hop and tropical music in a subtle way.

The EP closes with Ponce’s remix of Centavrvs’ “Colibrí,” which showcases a heavier side of his style. The backing track surfs between house and industrial, bringing more abrasive sounds to the table. Sadly, there seems to be a disconnect between the music, the vocals, and the track’s lyrics, making this the weakest track on the EP. El Camino is still a solid and welcome closure to Viejo, and it displays most of the Mexican artist’s strengths.