We first talked about Zyderal when we included the Bogotá-based duo in our Hermoso Ruido preview this past September. Their booming wall of electric sound made Zyderal one of the festival’s breakout acts, driving our hunger for more than the few enigmatic tracks found on their SoundCloud page. The wait finally ended when the band, comprised of Camilo Zúñiga and Delfina Dib, dropped their anthemic debut album Elemental.
There is a strong mid-90s electronica vibe throughout Elemental, directly informed by the band’s love of trip hop and dancehall. Elemental is an atmospheric and deeply immersive experience, remarkably crafted through Camilo Zuñiga’s production wizardry. Every song sounds dense and symmetrical, with meticulous beats that lead one to speculate about Zúñiga’s level of OCD. At the center of it all stands Delfina Dib with the flow and swagger of a seasoned R&B singer and a voice that can be best described as a battle cry of pop. The two musicians go toe-to-toe on almost every song. If Dib takes her voice higher, Zúñiga drops the bass even harder.
Elemental kicks off with “Temblor,” the perfect slow-burning appetizer for the full nine courses of sound about to hit. “Instinto” and “Hija Del Viento” drop Delfina Dib in her element, as she raps her way through songs about her wandering spirit, speaking to a life’s journey that began in Argentina and has somehow led to the Colombian capital. “Hija del viento, no me arrepiento de buscar…” she sings as to reaffirm her faith in her own path.
The middle end of the record brings in different energy, more jovial and less contemplative. “Paso a Paso” is a cocky and catchy dancehall jam, and “Invisible” has the intense party bounce you find yourself craving through much of the album. This is serious music, but it’s not beyond the realm of fun. “Metal” is another example of a more relaxed side to Zyderal, with a loopy singalong-oriented hook. But it’s “Único” that stands tallest among this collection of anthems. A smart choice for first single, “Único” synthesizes Zuñiga’s complex and impeccable production while showcasing the hell out of Dib’s earth-shattering voice. The corresponding video – shot in a vast loading dock – pairs beautifully with the enormity of the song.
Elemental is a triumph – cohesive and never repetitive. Everyone should be talking about this band. The future of trip-hop is now.