The phrase ‘tropical’ is currently getting used to describe a lot of different music; some good, some bad, some ugly. To save on confusion Senseless went out and travelled the world to find some music from the actual tropics, Venezuela to be precise. Somewhere buried deep in the mysterious rainforest, or possibly just in a studio in Caracas, they found Pocz and Pacheko. It’s so near the equator maybe we can ditch the 'tropical bass’ tag and go for something new, ‘equatorial bass’ perhaps? Maybe not.
Pacheko, Francisco Mejia, will be familiar to some for his solo releases on Lo Dubs, Murder Channel, Seclusiasis and for his work with legendary Venezualan expat Cardopusher. His partner in bass Pocz (Carlos Majoral) is a classically trained musician and production engineer. Along with a select few others they run Abstractor, a collective of producers, artists and designers, who promote parties, run a blog and do a fine job of representing bass music in Venezuela pretty much solo. The collective includes graphic artist Design or Die who is responsible for the incredible artwork and pretty special video for ‘Zarbak’.
Together by day Pocz and Pacheko run a sound design studio in the rum fuelled pressure cooker of political and social unrest that is Caracas. Their training in high-end audio engineering is evident in the quality and weight of the production. Nights are spent in the tropical heat cooking up beats. Over the years an audio diet that includes salsa, merengue, reggaeton and other local music mixed with old jungle tapes, Rinse FM sets and lots of dub has helped them to build a unique and captivating sound that combines all those things.
The spirit of hardcore, jungle and garage from the UK are all evident from the UK Funky rhythms and rumbling sub bass in ‘Zarbak’ to the melancholy melodic refrains of ‘Dorado’ but there’s something else there too. There’s something tribal in the drums that taps into a deep history of Latin American percussive rhythms and adds a dimension that is clearly their own. If UK bass is about the energy and pressure of the city at night then Caracas bass about the point where the intensity of the city meets the wide open space of the jungle, the beach and the mountains under a carpet of stars. Put the needle on the record, close your eyes and imagine it. Also, there’s remixes from Brackles (Blunted Robots/Planet Mu) and Mr Gasparov (Soul Jazz).