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Though they certainly weren't the first DJs to tap into regional traditions, Tijuana's Nortec Collective have engineered some of the most convincing and satisfying collisions between electronic music and indigenous sounds--they mostly draw on Norteño (Nortec = Norteño + techno) and its sister genres, making novel use of pumping accordion, banda's brass swells, and the drunken-sounding but unfailingly in-tempo drum pileups that distinguish so much Mexican border music. Last year two of the crew's most enduring talents, Bostich and Fussible (pictured), released Tijuana Sound Machine (Nacional), the third collection under the Nortec banner since 2001.
I haven't been able to pinpoint it, but there's a recent hip-hop tune currently getting radio play that I swear samples some of the massive tuba puffs that Bostich himself samples on his classic "Polaris," from the first Nortec collection. Here's the video for the jam--the tuba part in question drops in at the 55-second mark. Please leave a comment if you know the hip-hop tune I'm talking about, 'cause it's driving me crazy.
Tijuana Sound Machine doesn't rewrite the Nortec playbook, but the producers get way more life and vitality out of their approach than I ever would've expected. If you're tickled by the electro-cumbia put down by Argentina's Zizek Urban Beats Club, you might want to check out Nortec to hear some music that follows a similar but much earlier template.
Bostich and Fussible headline a show of Mexican electronic music Saturday night at the Congress--you can also read a preview of the satisfying kitschy Mexican Institute of Sound by Miles Raymer.
Rosalia De Souza, D'Improvviso (Schema)
Bert Jansch, Jack Orion (Transatlantic/Castle)
Antony & the Johnsons, The Crying Light (Secretly Canadian)
Enrico Rava, New York Days (ECM)
Steve Earle, Townes (New West)