Verraco: Grial (LP, Insurgentes, November 2020)

In my last post, I promised myself that the next record I write about here would have “proper tunes, or a proper rhythm, or maybe even (gasp!) both”. Well, here it is!

It’s kind of fascinating to me how, twenty-plus years after it’s heyday, kids around the world are finding cool things to do with IDM, often incorporating musical traditions from other continents. I mean, I loved that stuff at the time, and I’m still very fond of it, but you’d have to admit that it wasn’t always the most outward-looking of genres. And yet last year we had the Congolese-born, Belgian-raised Nkisi infusing classic Warp-ish sounds with Bantu cosmology and some crazily fresh drumlines…

…And here we have the Colombian Verraco bouncing between Medellín and Barcelona to create a blend of “perreo, jungle ambiance and mountainous Andes braindance”. The early tracks could be classified as a kind of Latin-tinged ambient techno, but the beats get a bit heavier and a bit more clattering as we go along, until we get to the epic banger Breaking Hegemonies (even the track name is on point) with its dark and heavy basslines and its bursts of breakbeats. Traición (trans: treason) does something similar with added echoey chanting sounds. E.M.R.I. The Last Alliance might be my favourite track, because of the euphoric breakdown which makes me feel like it’s the back end of a rave and everyone is too tired to dance properly but not ready for bed yet and the sun is starting to come up and the world is a little bit confusing but everyone and everything is lovely. Or maybe that’s just me.

(Hey, remember raves?)

This is record is more about the atmosphere than about the virtuoso drum programming. Which is fine! And, especially on the B-side, the atmospheres are taking me to a very happy place.

(Aside: The sleeve art on my vinyl doesn’t have the red paint splat that the digital versions have. Am I supposed to add it myself?)

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Techno / House.

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