From the recent Tango infused beats of The Gotan Project to Chile's deep techno pioneers Ojo De Apolo, the music of South America has been slowly creeping into the public area in recent days.
One thing that were particularly glad to see down South is the recent exposure of Mexican record labels like Mil, Static Discos and The Nortec Collective, who are showing that even Mexico can compete with the rampaging electronic music hordes who currentlydominate the US and European music scenes.
Originally a part of Tijuana's noteworthy Nortec Collective, Fernando Corona has splintered off recently to record his own music under the Murcof moniker. Having gained our attention with an excellent 4 track EP on San Francisco's Context Free Media label last year (three of those tracks appear here as well), Tony Morley's Leaf label has seen fit to release a full length of his work here in the UK.
Taking a page out of the minimal electronic music book penned by labels like ~scape, Chain Reaction and Context Free Media, Corona has pieced together a fantastic collage of micro-house with classical overtones that are both harmonious and otherworldly. Whereas some electronic artists flirt with classical music in their own compositions, such as Aphex Twin, Sun Electric or Ulrich Schnauss, this my friends, is the real deal.
Check the brilliant mix of plucked strings and Korg organ pad on "Mir" for example - each painstakingly edited together like the accents on a score of parchment; or the sense of dread that sneaks up on you in "Mo". The sense of mix placement and space is fantastic - alternating textures of lush ambience and cold minimalism that tickle the ear on headphones and embraces the body on a speaker system.
Corona not only has a great sense of melody but seems to have a real understanding of how traditional instruments can retain their beauty within the cold, harsh world of electronic music. Check out the layered mix on "Mum" where he pieces together ambient piano, strings, a solo female vocalist and some grinding electronics that all sit perfectly on top of a beat that wouldn't be out of place on a Pole CD, or Wagon Christ's work on Rising High.
For those seeking a unique take on classical music or for adventurous DJs out there who are looking to spice up their mix with something truly special, Martes should be an essential purchase.
An absolutely wonderful and highly original work. --Olli Siebelt
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"a melancholy minimal electronic sputter that unites Krautwibble and icy avant-classical symphonics in the depths of its sophisticated design." -- NME
"deftly twisted alien soundscapes and rich, heart-stirring melodies...more than a little bit special." -- DJ Mgazine, May 2002
"one of the most astounding albums we've heard all year." 10/10 -- absorb.org, April 2002
"spartan yet panoramic, mixing clipped mechanoid beats with pizzicato strings and portent-laden orchestral stabs" 4/5 -- Muzik
"the definitive marriage of electronic minimalism and orchestral... simply jaw dropping. Absolutely essential!" 5/5 -- Echoes