Santa Muerte’s ‘Oraciones’ EP is a Prayer to the Club Reggaeton Gods

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After a year of remix gold, Sines and Panchitron of Houston, Texas production duo Santa Muerte are giving the people what they want — a four-track EP of original material. Oraciones is the first release from the pair’s new, tarot-themed micro label Majía. To celebrate its inception, Santa Muerte tapped the exciting, international network of producers creating work at the crux of the experimental and dembow galaxies.

Their team has created a heavy backdrop for international raving, reggaeton underpinnings coming through at key moments, with vocals reduced to snippets as in Blanco Nino’s contribution “Pal Piso.” After Fake Accent collective member Kala made a driving, forceful beat for “TAK,” the team threw the baton to Chile’s Imaabs. “The track comes back,” Panchitron remembered in a Remezcla interview. “The original, like I was saying, is very aggressive. The second one is even more, it’s so raw and really strong. I don’t know how to explain it but it’s good, it’s just so good.” King Doudou, Douster’s alias, helped to craft “Trembla,” which is sure to shake foundations when it’s blasted through a club system.

If the tracks are resonating, their force may be partially due to what happened after the Santa Muerte team and co-producers had their first pass at them. Panchitron told Remezcla that each of Oraciones’ songs went through a process akin to focus grouping, in which an elite triad of DJs (NAAFI’s Zut Zut, Nguzunguzu’s Asma, and Nino Blanco playing double duty) got to audition the beats for the first time for their dance floors. Some tracks were reincarnated in three versions before arriving at this, their finished devotional state.

The EP is the start of what Santa Muerte promises will end up being a work that borders on the theatric in scope. Meticulous track creation, the duo hopes, will result in something for the ages. “The artists that we work with, we want to make sure that it’s a legacy,” says Panchitron. “Like wow, that happened between this year and this year — We really, really want that. We want to be able to give each individual artist that business card, ‘This is what I did this year. Take a listen to it, this is me.’”