La Peña, #1

Photo by Portia Munson

[La Peña]

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The recent boom in one-off 12″s which share artist and label names with little other info (sometimes a rubber stamp if you’re lucky; browse through a few pages of Hardwax‘s new releases for examples) is necessarily difficult to pin down. Is it nostalgic pining for the faceless days of yore, a way to get around label hierarchy, or an escape from one’s discography? My guess would be a confluence of all three, and it’s growing fast. One such release to quickly lose its veil of anonymity is “#1” from La Peña (on La Peña), apparently the work of Miguel Ayala and Arno Völker, better known as Einzelkind and Chupacabra. It’s an unusually shrewd and lo-fi record from these two, who regularly release for Get Physical and Kindisch, but it retains their passion for indigenous percussion slates.

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Of the four untitled cuts, the first is likely to get the most spins. Generously sampling the throaty tenor of the late Cuban singer, Celeste Mendoza, the tune balls up a two note progression and rolling drum lick to trundle below the genial vocal line. Her phrases are allowed to unfold naturally, if messily, over the eventually snapping swing beat, which relaxes the uptight loops at the reasonable cost of some utility. The clattering second track has a definite “made in my basement” vibe, as its percussion-centric beat and beatbox effects play hide and seek behind flattened and normalized EQing. On the flipside, track three maintains the homemade simplicity and attitude, sprinkling “woohoo”s and tickled vibes over a looped one note/house beat. A shorter and stripped back version of the first cut rounds out the record, as if made especially for looping and sampling DJs. Overall, La Peña’s “#1” is a charmingly simple record that’s likely to go down well in today’s percussion-happy climate. Whatever the motive behind these low-profile releases, the “freedom” they grant artists seems to be facilitating some quality tracks.


Little White Earbuds » Little White Earbuds August Charts  on September 9, 2008 at 9:03 PM

[…] 08. Henrik Schwarz, Âme & Dixon, “D.P.O.M.B.” (Version 2) [Innervisions] (buy) 09. La Peña, “Untitled 1″ [La Peña] (buy) 10. A Guy Called Gerald, “In Ya Head” [Perlon] […]

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