After HIEDRAH (more articles here) released their first edition of Esquirlas (conceptual album) in 2018 – a compilation of tracks from emerging South American producers. The digital label now launched their second run for that purpose. This time the selection is “enriched by new sounds; broken, swollen or decomposed, like Marosa mushrooms, give space to new meanings of production,” says the label A&R managers Ybán and Nahuel. From 2017, Buenos Aires collective and label is releasing one of the most forward-thinking and innovative club experiments. „Bailar es política“ [„Dancing is political“] is one of the mottos of the label. And you can definitely hear it on their releases.
“May the memory alway last even in the ephemerality of the dancefloor.”
We’re presenting the song „El día de mi suerte“ by SXMBRA
SXMBRA is not only a music producer but a very interesting multidisciplinary artist (also check out Liminal Vision platform). He studied Molecular cell biology, biochemistry, and later History & Philosophy of Science in Utrecht. He is interested in finding existential meaning and consolation in the trash of modern culture.
We asked about the story behind his song on Hiedrah’s compilation. He wrote us a beautiful personal letter, that we have to share with you below ➜
● „Growing up in a Dutch family that was a lot into orchestral and choral classical music as well as Calvinist church organ music, I was always intrigued by the heavy, moody atmospheres that these sounds could create and evoke dark, grand epic images of terror. These similar images, inspired by conceptions of hell or cosmic, spiritual battles I saw reflected later in my teenage years in fantasy and horror such as the Lord of the Rings or Magic the Gathering illustrations. I never played the Silent Hill games or watched the Saw trilogy because my parents were quite conservative about the kinds of media that we were allowed to see as teenagers, yet the pop-cultural 2000s horror aesthetic of blood-stained dungeons with rusty chains and toothed knives still made a strong impression on me.“
● „At the same time, being adopted from Colombia, my parents had a number of tapes and CDs with Andean folkloric music, which was the kind of Latin-American music that appealed most to them. The contracted rhythm, very universal for indigenous music from the Americas, which most people nowadays know from or almost equate with the cumbia genre, got imprinted in my mind. But I always associate it more with the deep, ethereal vibes of Andes folk than with the more lightfooted energy of cumbia. When I got interested in music as a beginning hip-hop beat producer at high school, I was already imagining an urban-electronic „Andes beat“ type of genre, equivalent to dancehall, reggaeton, or baile funk but with the Andean groove. And now much later, I am gradually getting there, finding myself always returning to this type of rhythm.“
● „Finally, going through my experiences as a neurodivergent person while growing older, I increasingly became aware of the gap between myself and many of my peers, either in gathering a satisfying social life around me or in becoming an independent adult in the sense of setting and reaching my own goals. The social safety net and disability support system in the Netherlands are incredible and I enjoy a tremendous lot of privileges, yet the limitations that are a direct result of the institutional restrictions tied to these systems on the one hand, and the pressures of competitive capitalism on the other hand, have resulted in a situation of getting stuck and not knowing what is feasible for me to even dream about in life, in terms of building an artistic and intellectual career. A decade of shattered hopes and failed attempts to rebuild myself have created a tension of a blocked and distraught expressive energy that bounces in between hope, motivation and defeat,“ writes Sxmbra.
„El Día de mi Suerte“ was composed in a period when I was deeply struggling with these feelings, and I used these elements of dark choral-orchestral music, horroresque sounds and the Andean groove to give a voice to this experience, trying to get out of a dungeon or labyrinth, only finding myself stuck once again. I decided not to sample Héctor Lavoe and Willie Colón’s classic of the same title, but the track was inspired by the first line of the chorus: „pronto llegará, el día de mi suerte.“ The track itself gives up hope, only to end with a dark and fatalistic final chord. Yet, everything that has unfolded around it in the real world, its release on Hiedrah Club de Baile and première on Swine Daily, feels to me like the arrival of my actual lucky day. This ray of light, that leads to a secret exit, is part of a larger scale shift that has been set in motion very recently, but was probably there, in the track and in my life, all along.“
HIEDRAH about the Esquirlas 2 theme and concept
HIEDRAH A&R managers Ybán & Nahuel told us more about the Esquirlas 2 project ➜
„The idea of resuming the compilation with a second volume arose from conversations between Nahuel and Diego (aka Aggromance – DJ/producer of our label, who also suggested some names that are part of this compilation).“
„To get to this compilation we looked for those Latin American producers who during this time were working and posting their materials within the most democratic platforms, open to DIY, such as SoundCloud. We conscientiously search for those newer projects that have a very marked identity character and that seek, with the tools and experiences of each one, to arrive at their own sound, which in turn in all cases refers us to a regionality, to an experience in common. We think of the compilation as a range of sounds, but under the original premise of Esquirlas, which is to recall the first appropriations of rhythm, the first approaches to music, and the soundscapes that marked those instances of their childhoods and adolescence. The songs are original in terms of composition although they are allowed to work with samples or other pre-existing sound objects as long as they are used in a new way. Narrative and coherence is something that we take very seriously and care about a lot in all of our work, and there are different instances in which we get involved or make the work of one another come together, depending on the case.“
(Cover Artwork by Julian Solís Morales / aka @jusomor)
(Mastering by Cristóbal Vargas / aka @IMAABS)
▣ You can follow HIEDRAH Club de Baile on Instagram, SoundCloud and Bandcamp. You can explore more brilliant art by Sxmbra here. ▣