The Mexican scene stalwart El Irreal Veintiuno gives his boldest project to date with a first long-length album for the Mexico City-based imprint Infinite Machine, at the crossroads of prehispanic sound studies and forward-thinking Latinx club aesthetics
Violence is something that is always hard to express or even invoke, both as a music writer, sound searcher, and active listener, when you are in front of a sonic artifact that is trying to give some lecture of our human species endlessly looking to satisfy its thirst for blood. How being stuck in a circling loop of death, hope and desires to survive could really be an analytic pattern in order to study some musical object? There is a count that could be made of how many artists and projects have solicited different forms of violence embodied in music throughout our recent history, whether within the alternative scenes of punk, metal, and electronics, in hip-hop cultural and textual contents, or even the visual aesthetics of war which is now a visual part almost systematically exploited in most releases of techno or industrial music. And we could do tons of examples across the music industry, but it’s a job that would require a thesis on its own.
Now it is time to jump into a deep vision of how creating fantastic imagery of sound can help people to escape the realistic violence of a war-torn society, at least sonically speaking. Like most of his fellow in-view Mexican producers, Bryan Dálvez aka El Irreal Veintiuno is known for his precise sound designed and sharpened dance-focused musical efforts with numerous releases that have been hosted on standout Latinx labels such as Mexico’s NAAFIor Los Angeles duo Siete Catorce and Amazondotcom’s Subreal. Since he broke into the scene, his works have always pushed forward this ecstatic tension between core elements of tribal and Latino American sound tradition and exploratory shapes of sci-fi-driven electronic rhythms and melodies. With all respect for this pollination, he is now forging a loud sonic altar through which Gabber highly distorted kicks are melting with industrialized pre-hispanic percussion layers or flute lines, as well as peculiar vocal samples which locates the musical action in nowadays Mexico without giving too much literal context, and thus remaining quite mysterious. The upcoming album Irrealidades(the Spanish word for “unrealities”) marks his first long play for Mexico City-based standout label Infinite Machine, operated by the exigent honcho xWOLFx and home of many adventury hybrid club blacksmiths such as Bristol’s outer space fire-launcher Galtier, Bay Area’s own bass music mercenary Only Now, Moscow-raised post club sorceress Softmatter or Paris-based tone alchemist Design Default, among many others promising and established talents.
With the molding of these twelve intensely imaged tracks, Dálvez sets the narrative of his own country musical movement, always going back and forth between traditional aspects and futuristic musical forms, without losing the attention of listeners. By embracing this past-to-future virtuous circle, he is putting into light a gentle chemistry of rhythms, effects, and tonalities which ends on one of the most exciting records to be released this year. Playing indistinctly with Dembow, Tribal, Techno, and Ambient elements, the album doesn’t fail at any moment on his path to document a Mexican society that was always confronted with violence, whether it was for social, colonial, economical causes, struggling with endless gang brutality and state coercion. As for some pre-apocalyptic subtext, Dálvez is calling for a total refreshment of our planet by announcing the comeback of Quetzalcóatl (as one of the album’s main tracks suggests), an ancient Aztec divinity who takes the shape of a feathered snake, and will thus come to wash up this world of all human sins, as well as the rotten Earth they live on. Adding to this, as the press release of the album mentions:
Maybe, Irrealidades seems to say, we are also caught in a loop, unable to break out from the cycle of violence and marching irredeemably (but with healthy curiosity) into The End, when Quetzalcóatl makes his glorious return.
El Irreal Veintiuno
Above this article, you can now stream an exclusive extract of Irrealidades untitled “Represión”, which shows how powerful El Irreal Veintiuno’s take on drums and sound design is. Built around some motorbike and engine noise loops, the track goes from an extra-terrestrial melody that is soon joined by a furious but nonetheless crystalline Dembow rhythm canvas. Big room toms and sparkling metallic shakers are blended into an arsenal of stomping musical objects. At some point, some human shouts, police sirens, and gunshots are scattered from here to there, intruding into this martial mess by giving a deeper sense of drama. A dance weapon made of body responses to police brutality, in order to disarm all the morbid militias that count this world rotten by the interests of a privileged few. Lava for the ears, fire for the hearts.
Infinite Machine will release Irrealidades, the first long-length project of El Irreal Veintiuno, this March 31st on all platforms, pre-order it at Bandcamp.