2002, Tijuana, twenty years ago this week: Murcof and F A X released their first albums and launched the label Static Discos. Sounds come in cycles, and they can easily sound new all over again – doubly so with a beautiful new remix compilation to celebrate. Let’s listen.
(Pic at top: Alicia Tsuchiya.)
Static Discos Day bests Valentine’s Day — for some of us, anyway. As told ten years ago back on the 10th anniversary, the original date was marked together in México City at the peak of minimal techno and what was then post-techno:
Fernando Corona (Murcof), Rubén Tamayo (Fax) and myself traveled to México City to play at a night club called Colmillo (Versalles 49). It was our first time playing at a techno club in México City, and it was one of the few places at the time, if not the only, that catered to minimal techno. The February 14th date also became special because as we were setting up our soundcheck, Joseph Muñiz from Opción Sónica, our distributor at the time, showed up and delivered to us the first two Static Discos releases: Fax’s Resonancia (STA001) and Murcof’s Martes (STA002). We are proud to offer our first release as a Free Download.
It’s almost notable that now it sounds its own voice more than anything that we would now call “minimal techno.”
Dial back the clock to 2002 and Static Discos’ notes almost preemptively caution us “It has little to do that Murcof (Fernando Corona) is a Mexican from Tijuana…” Now, that needs no explanation; a lot of us have come to look to this Tijuana / Mexicali / Baja California crew for inspiration as to what it means to explore sound in new ways. That music to “transcend borders and music genres” issued a call a lot of folks have heard.
STA001 and STA002 are both well worth a listen now, with pared-down materials in a combination of lush evocative textures and stunningly precise arrangements. They’re emotional, personal, but also clarion compositions.
The text from the time:
Fax’s debut album is a combination of warm resonant harmonics with four by four minimalistic beats. This album is a definite post wallpaper techno manifesto, full of deep sounds and sweet melodies.
To that note about whether or not it matters they’re from Mexico, I notice that the BBC review from 2002 does make some effort to compare to European labels, contexts, and minimalism. Of course, even in 2002, the reviewer concludes there’s no comparison – it’s actually Static Discos that’s “the real deal.” Autres Directions in 2002 reached a similar conclusion that I think holds up – here’s something that’s both smarter and dancier than a lot of the sounds around it, which might well hold inspiration for producers today:
“These tracks are quite stunning. They hide harmonies that are organic as the music develops. Similarly, micro-glitches are found progressively throughout. Offering a minimal techno that is lovingly caressed by house and dub. The music is powerful as Fax immerses the listener (me you) in rich rhythmic sub basses (dancier than Pole or Tomas Jirku) that resonate with harmony and pulsations.”
The FAX release, Resonancia, catalog number one:
Murcof’s release you do have to go buy, but it’s every bit as much a gem. (Hey, maybe they do want to double up with some remixes of this one!)
And the transformative Mexican-international connections continues, with a young label – the new Facade Electronics. With FAX, they’ve organized a new remix compilation of last year’s Telegraphic Memory, featuring a gorgeous selection of creative production talents. That includes CDM fave and fellow Tijuana native Microhm (Leslie Garcia), along with Alexandre Navarro (París), Kathia Rudametkin (Ensenada), Nico (CDMX), Ossa (EUA), Portable (París), Sanderson Dear (Canada), Subxet (Ex-Plankton Man / Niño Astronauta / Kobol) (USA), and Yann Novak (USA). I could say more, but really you hear that the legacy of those 2002 sounds continues and finds new crystaline dimensions, especially as “Rotor” and “Momentum” are heard variously through different prisms.
This one is name-your-own-price; totally great stuff:
You have to dig those first two releases up elsewhere, but there are loads of wonderful new releases from these two and many others on the SD Bandcamp:
And of course:
FAX is responsible for that stylish visual feel; you can also check his work as a designer and artist: