V/A – Saturno 2000 – La Rebajada de Los Sonideros 1962 – 1983 | Reviews

Even the boldest of musical freaks would be forgiven for never discovering the genre known as rebajada. Even the head honchos at Analog Africa were clueless to this intoxicating scene until 2010 when Eamon Ore-Giron – aka DJ Lengua – suggested this lesser-known movement might make a suitably esoteric focus for a future compilation. Rebajada in Spanish means “to reduce, to lower” and soon became the label for a scene pioneered by Mexican sound system operators who took traditional Cumbia beats and slowed them to create something easier to dance to. The result is at times hypnotic, eerie, futuristic, and utterly bizarre. In other words, it’s fantastic.

This almost psychedelic gumbo was pioneered by two families of brothers – the Pereas and the Ortegas – who travelled all over Latin America and returned to Mexico arms heavy with vinyl. Before long they were mixing and matching Latin America’s finest beats and seeing which went best with Mexican dance steps. To felicitate this process they started experimenting with pitch systems so the rhythms would line up, adding an otherworldly aura to the tunes. Simultaneously a Monterrey-based sonidero by the name of Gabriel Dueñez almost got electrocuted by a short circuit that nearly set his record player on fire. The result? The platter started spinning in slow motion for the rest of the party, creating a warped spectacle that drove the kids wild. Rebajada’s unique selling point was born, both through necessity and an act of god.

‘Saturno 2000’ sees fifteen of these tunes captured for posterity and proves a treasure chest of infectiously alien grooves. Fans of Analog Africa’s previous releases should find plenty to love at the core of these songs, each one possessing that warm long-lost sound such boutique labels feed off. It’s the comps quirks that really make it something special though. Most of the material gives off the impression of it existing in two different places at once. ‘Junior Y Su Equipo’ & ‘Paga La Cuenta Sinverguenza’ for instance, drip with retro charm, their synthy stabs matching those of the chiptune scenes. Elsewhere numbers such as ‘Capricho Egipcio’ sound like a lost Koji Kondo composition that never made it onto a 90s Legend of Zelda game. At its most ‘traditional’ these rebajada numbers don’t sound a million miles away from the psych-revival coming from bands like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard at their most playful.

Anyone with an existing interest in cumbia, reggae, or early synth scenes should find plenty to enjoy within this unique mixture of the three. For those who get a kick out of discovering something leftfield but utterly shareable, look no further. These cosmic tunes are for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

8/10

Words: Sam Walker-Smart

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