Music Review: Bondi Blaster – ¡Lo’ Juimo! (2012, Stronghold Sound)

¡Lo’ Juimo! is a heretic and exquisite crossover of styles ranging from cumbia and folk to electronic music and hip-hop in the upcycling, freegan fashion of ‘cumbia lyniera’.

Genre: Rootstep / Downtempo / New world music / Hip-hop / Cumbia

Country: USA

Artists Website:  DJ Juan Data

Label:  Stronghold Sound

From diverse to versatile this 43’-long EP is surely a blast spanning different times, styles and places characteristic of South America – but not only. The core of this attempt is what we call in Freegan Kolektiva ‘Rootstep’ or ‘New World Music’, terms that capture a departure from Western cultural domination. In its core ¡Lo’ Juimo! is a mix of cumbia with electronic music and hip-hop, a style defined by Argentinian expat DJ Juan Data through his manifold collaborations. But there is also much more: funk, downtempo, heavy bass dance music and South American folk all find a place in Bondi Blaster’s melting pot.

Apart from the too-many-styles-to-name-them-all approach what makes a difference here is a sense of artistic freedom that is permissive to all those cut & paste crossovers with a street attitude, DIY and carnivalesque at once. This sample meshwork is a style that DJ Juan Data calls ‘cumbia linyera’ (linyera is Argentine vernacular for garbage pickers), a notion close to ‘freecycling’, ‘upcycling’ or ‘freeganism’ centred around electronic cumbia. Cumbia itself is a street music, a crossover between African slaves and indigenous peoples; in that sense Bondi Blaster’s approach is aligned to the original expression of people’s music like cumbia. This underground feel reminds me a bit of Batida, although the expressive pathways are different.

Larvasaurio’s Revenge’ is quite an awkward track, like a hazy dream around a repetitive theme. The second track ‘Salchichón Primavera’ features LA-based Argentine diva Tami and features strong Afro-American percussions and ‘agnostic’ singing in more conventional structures etc. ‘Cumbia Nena’ will satisfy all bass addicts, particularly those who look for some ethno-dubstep with MCs rhyming on top. With a competent soundsystem, this tune is irresistible.

Alta Farra’ is an outstanding mix with a strong ethnic vibe. Featuring funky, downtempo beats, a solid bassline and enchanting panflute melodies of indigenous Andean music over the mono-vowel rapping of DJ Juan Data himself is probably the most enjoyable musical juggling in this EP together with ‘Boliguay Express’. The latter embeds this borderless feeling of roadtripping across a continent. Musically it is stirring number: an energetic jamming between Peruvian psychedelic cumbia (chicha) with a strong tango flavour (inevitably reminding Gotan Project) and a retro overall feel. ‘Boliguay’ stands for Bolivia and Paraguay in Argentinian vernacular.

This five originals are accompanied by 5 remixes to be released  today, the 6th of March. Somewhere between the Buraka Some Systema/Batida bass-laden street carnival craze, the more instrumental feel of Novalima as well as Systema Solar’s ‘tresspassing’ meshworks, Bondi Blaster’s mix of cumbia, hip-hop and electronic music finds its own niche to cover.

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Discover more ethnic crossovers via Freegan Kolektiva:

AUditors DOmination – Palace of Light (2012, Timewarp music)

Novalima – Karimba (2012, ESL Music)

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