Every time Siete Catorce (aka Marco Gutiérrez) releases an album, we’re blessed with a few more chapters of a story he’s quietly working on in his studio. With each release, his beat-driven, glitchy guarachero-dubstep gets headier and more complex. 2015 was a prolific year in terms of formal releases for him; he dropped two EPs and a collaboration album with ambient artist Dokúo. EP3 was slated for release during that period, but had to be temporarily shelved due to an accident with his computer’s hard drive.
In a recent interview for FACT Magazine, Gutiérrez discusses his preference for writing and performing music on a laptop. For him, the computer is almost an extension and enhancement of his already hyperactive brain. As he notes in the interview, it’s a bold statement for a producer to make in 2016, when the trend and preference of most is to showcase hardware and live performance. Though it may be easier (and more accessible) for aspiring producers to use laptops, there is always the dreaded possibility of hardware failure – and the reality that you’ll lose the sessions you’ve been working on for your next project.
Siete Catorce wrote a short statement on Facebook about how the loss almost led him to ditch this album, but he ultimately decided to release it. The result is a distinctive set of tracks that are less tied together conceptually than his previous release, Paisajes. EP3 discretely combines elements of techno, house, dub, and tribal, but more democratically than Principio / / / Final, in which tribal is the dominant voice.
“Metempsicosis,” the EP’s third track and one of its more ambitious moments, exemplifies this collage of rhythms. Siete Catorce sketches a map of a world where dubstep, dark ambient, and techno can coexist without blending into each other. The track cites a piano arrangement that is also present “Percepción,” the EP opener. “Percepción” launches with a disintegrating tribal melody and piano accompaniment that ushers the listener into occult territory.
The title of “Nada (algo.bonito.para.ti)” suggests that it’s a gift – a bit of a humble gesture, as it’s the longest and strongest offering on the EP. This track demands a committed listen as it runs its introspective, almost nine-minute course. But Siete Catorce is as much of a party monster as he is an introvert, and although EP3 will take you deep into a chasm of introspection, it still lets you dance your way out of it.
Ultimately, this EP is more about stretching possibilities of experimentation than about concept, something Gutiérrez pulls off brilliantly. We find a set of tracks that contain very complex sonic language, but a narrative carefully shrouded in chiaroscuro. What EP3 lacks conceptually, it makes up for tenfold in ambition and talent. This futuristic, ambient-techno experiment will find a well-deserved place in your headphones.
EP3 is available now. Head over to Bandcamp to receive three bonus tracks with a download of the EP.