Mexico’s Schez Gives Electronic Sounds Human Weight on “Vaasdna” EP

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Many electronic producers are in a constant search of the best way to inject soul and humanity into their compositions, to let people know there’s a person behind the machines. On his new EP, titled  Vaasdna, Culiacán-born, Mexico City-based artist Jorge Sánchez, better known as Schez, achieves this beautifully through a combination of harmony, field recordings, and sampling.

On the first few seconds of opener “Halved,” he makes emotions blossom through harmony, with a chord progression played on an electric piano taking you from a peaceful place to one full of doubt. The flow of this ethereal intro is broken by an unexpected sample of people cheering ecstatically. This is one of the few unusual ways Schez utilizes the human voice on the record.

In general, this is a very sparse-sounding collection of tracks, with each element successfully performing a specific duty. For instance, “Klimt” features a start-and-stop beat created by sampling metal and wood getting hit, giving the track an atmosphere that feels connected to nature. Then, at the halfway mark a four-on-the-floor kick drum takes the track to the dance floor.

Klimt (Reprise)” is the one track that sounds more conventional and dance floor-ready. Picking out elements from the sound palette of the original track, Schez adds chopped and altered vocals in reverse, and even sounds from an acoustic guitar. We hear this while there’s a war of banging tin cans over everything fighting for our attention, and this is precisely what gives the song that special feature.

Schez’s tracks build up slowly, but the journey is pleasant, and the arrival is rewarding. “Andsaav” is a track that unravels before our ears, with a simple beat that gets more and more complex as it develops, and a warped vocal performance that gives the song an eerie vibe. By the last few minutes of the song, there’s glitching percussion dancing on our ears and bouncing swells of bass.

Sánchez, like a musical Wizard of Oz, managed to give a heart to this tin man called Vaasdna, and this is yet another successful release for Mexican label Static Records.