Get dance-y. Get academic. Discover cannibalistic vocal technique, pre-colonial archaeology (with or without AI), mixes, reading, virtual raves – all of it radical. Time for a music dump from a fresh Latin American project.
Pictured at top, CAO (check SoundCloud).
Radical Sounds Latin America is a multi-dimensional platform – a journal, a festival, music mixes, and online publication and network – dedicated to what’s most new and dynamic in Latin American music and its spread worldwide. It goes deep into technology and electronics and their interplay with our transformed identities, but draws connections in the pre-colonial past, too. That is, you can go from the ancient to the futuristic and where they all overlap.
It seems an especially vital time to tune into Latin America, as, like their neighbor to the north, they’ve been hard hit by COVID-19, bringing isolation and loss. My heart goes out to all my friends both there and out of their home countries in places like Berlin as they deal with those ripples of sometimes destructive energy.
This project, by contrast, is powerful and constructive. As its organizers put it:
Radical Sounds Latin America is an online platform and yearly festival that explores new and exciting Latin American music. Our aim is to create a space that celebrates plurality, exchange, collaboration, experimentation, and research while addressing questions of identity, colonialism, and migration through music.
Like a lot of projects interrupted by the pandemic, this one had its life as an in-person festival first (at Berlin’s spatial sound club MONOM in October 2019), but has been driven online. That hasn’t gotten them down, though – they’ve kept up a pace that includes publishing a journal and more mixes that should stimulate the whole brain-body package you’ve got.
Let’s start this with some music. Artists I’ve not visited before, just for example:
I immediately got the spectacular energy of this mix – the “Sudaca, Andean energy, 200 bpm, rave music, emotions, memories, holidays.” The mixer is Peruvian producer Dj Sentimiento, who I only just learned is 17 years old – meaning they’re roughly the age of this site. (Whoa.) And check SoundCloud for the sprawling track list, in case you didn’t already work out their mix tempo is pretty blazingly quick.
You’ll hear equally terrific sounds from composer/producer and sound theorist and artist Constanza Bizraelli, aka CAO, “a wide palette of otherworldly Latin-American and international sounds which as a journey reflect on themes such as migration, discontinuity, fear and instability in the current times of global crisis.”
Or check post-punk trio RAKTA from São Paulo:
The journal just came out, edited by Alejandra Luciana Cárdenas, in both Spanish and English – 170 pages worth. It’s free online if you’re skint or prefer to digest onscreen, or spend 7EUR plus shipping to your part of the world for some nice paper to hold. Either way, you get a serious adventure into sound.
There’s a meditation on jukeboxes and violence in Rio, from our friend Dr. Pedro Oliveira. Decolonialism is not just a buzzword – Louise Hisayasu researches Brazilian indigenous leaders who ran their own radio resistance, over the airwaves, taking a brutal legacy of torture head-on. The colonialism of music technology – its standardization, and the “ethnotourism” of sound libraries, but tracing a thread back through history – is tackled by researcher José Cláudio Siqueira Castanheira. You can learn about Peruvian sound art sculptures. Reexamine listening and the urban unconscious in Mexico City. And in my favorite, you can discover new post-human approaches to vocal technique as cannibalism, bringing new meaning to anyone chewing their mic, in a great work by Agustín Genoud. And that’s just a cross-section.
Read online or order the printed matter:
Oh, plus knowing the spectrum of people reading this blog, there’s a call for papers on already for 2021. So don’t complain about lockdowns; get writing. And there’s a benefit on if you have some spare money rather than time.
Information on the festival:
There are a lot – a lot – of videos now online of performance and discourse, between documentation of the 2019 festival, the live sets they pulled off even with COVID restrictions this year, and a takeover of infamous Berlin streaming platform HÖR. See also sets from Ale Hop and Radical Sounds Latin America co-curator Talia Vega Léon speaking to CTM Festival.
So let’s watch:
What better way to start than with the journal editor and platform instigator and all-around does-everything-person Alejandra, aka Ale Hop, plus our friend Hexorcismos adding more live AI:
And of course, there’s more:
There’s an excellent panel for more background from this year’s CTM Festival, hosted by Talia Vega Léon, who is Radical Sounds Latin America’s co-curator. She speaks to Carla Boregas (Rakta, of the mix above), Hugo Esquinca (MNNNKJDE – Hugo has also spoken to us, link below) and Laura Diaz (Teto Preto).
And finally, more on their fundraising project, as they work in Puerto Rico to stop gender-based violence:
Finally for more background on some of the artists just mentioned. First, for anyone who thinks Berghain is always about the same techno artists, sure, but sometimes this happens (Hugo is on the panel above):
This discussion of collective subconscious comes up again in the journal, which resonates with what Mexican artist Lvis Mejía described in his collective. (Lvis works with Hugo, too.)
And as for Dengue Dengue Dengue I’ve spoken to them about the process of putting together the extravaganzas in their shows: