Review: Verraco – ‘Grial’ (Insurgentes)Tweet
Hailing from the colourful and mountainous Colombian city of Medellín, artist Verraco has established a name for himself as a promising talent who has mastered electro, ambient, braindance and techno.
Verraco is the head of Insurgentes, a label that has become a key platform for the finest Latino sonic hustlers. The label operates with one goal in mind: reduce gaps between the Latin electronic music scene and the rest of the world, building bridges and making more visible the talent of Latin America. His own imprint is the one that sees Verraco’s debut album ‘Grial’.
The Colombian artist presents a raw exploration of themes such as being mestizo (mixed-race) and the notion of impurity that comes with it from an uncolonized perspective.
‘Grial’ feels like a scream from the exhaustion of being catalogized under a Western sonic palette. This album attempts to shatter the notion of a singular identity of Latin music and it paints the artist’s own vision of his homeland, blending unthinkable genres such as IDM with jungle, ambient, reggaeton beats and Andean braindance. Verraco serves the world as a powerful deliverer of the message of a Latin-Futurist utopia, being able to mobilize artists against a westernized musical hegemony.
From rural chants flowing down a mountain range to street bikes and gang outbreaks lighting up cityscapes, the use of field recordings in Grial guides listeners through Verraco’s sonic fiction.
These ten pieces, mastered by Rashad Becker, present an intricate pluriverse that the Western world has greatly marginalized. Grial becomes the sacrament in which other possible worlds turn corporeal. These ten tracks feel rebellious and groundbreaking. With the recurring theme of a call to South America to defy western standards, inciting a cultural fury of their people
Insubordinate, revolutionary, insurgent… Grial is the statement of intent of the label. With the first track, A1 we see one of the works with a higher influence from IDM and jungle. ‘Pluriverso’ continues the discourse with an innovative approach to sounds and ambient, that crashes preconceptions of what an album coming from someone with Verraco’s origins should sound like.
The artist has said that he has spent two years building what he feels like is the work of his life. Verraco tried to convey his vision of Latin IDM, colliding breaks, ‘perreo’ and braindance, with the main goal of rejecting a unique Latin identity.
The album carries on a more explorative note, one that delves into Latin-futurism that grabs inspiration from more commonly associated with Latin culture genres such as reggaeton and mixes them up with a glitchy and experimental proposal.
One can meditate on the artist’s intents by seeing the name selection of the tracks, one of them ‘Sur-Furia’ translates into ‘fury south’, which is a clear call of the South being tired of northwestern standards, wishing to rebel. ‘Abya Yala’ makes reference to what we today know as America. Here Verraco introduces indigenous traditions and language, who prefer this name since they associate the term ‘America’ with the blood bath that came with colonization. This track is extremely sensorial, starting out with a head nod to the artist’s origins, with sounds of nature, creating an evocative feeling that allows his theory to come in stronger that is essentially paving the way for the debate of submission and identity oppression by using different names established by the land’s invaders.
The culmination of the artist’s manifesto can be seen in ‘Breaking Hegemonies’. Verraco here refers to the wrecking of the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group. This is further crystalised in the final work, ‘Our New Order’, making reference to a new beginning for Latin artists.
Setting himself into a difficult mission, to break standards with an experimental work accompanied with a strong backstory, on this album Verraco manages to convey perfectly his intent. ‘Grial’ LP sets a decisive turning point for the way that Latin American electronic music is received.
A3 NRG Remains
A4 Sur — Furia
A5 Abya Yala
B1 Breaking Hegemonies
B2 Traición (10mente mix)
B3 E.M.R.I. | The Last Alliance
B4 Our New Order
Grial is out October 30th via Insurgentes.
Grab it here.
Artwork: Pedro Ajo