Mexico City’s ground-breaking music label NAAFI returns with “Aire” – their first offering in 2016. The Mexican crew has been making waves through their integral action of bridging the gaps between modern club music and Latin America’s rich indigenous culture. It’s a powerful new movement sharing view with people like NON’s Chino Amobi and Lisbon-based Príncipe Discos through a new vocal front engaging local narratives into the often too safe global club scene.
With his new EP Paul Marmota channels a similar sort of ambivalent feels like Elysia Crampton who contemplates the modern identity of Latin-American countries pushed into the blind appreciation of Western values. NAAFI stands for “No Ambition And Fuck-All Interest” – an attitude easily heard in their output far away from any craving for commercial recognition.
NAAFI’s eleventh release is a three-track single from Chilean producer Paul Marmota, the art group’s co-founder and A&R who relocated to the CDMX from Santiago back in 2010. Since then he’s been developing NAAFI as a party and label helping it grow into a symbol of Mexico City’s prolific music scene.
"Aire resembles something halfway between militant-sounding instrumentals and deconstructed grime from the likes of UK's Mumdance."
“Aire” follows Marmota’s first release “Nueva” – a six-track EP published in late 2013. This time the artist abandons Rustie-like maximalism and excursions into house choosing instead an air of confusion and weird silence. “Aire” resembles something halfway between militant-sounding instrumentals and deconstructed grime from the likes of UK’s Mumdance.
In comparison to “Nueva”, the new Marmota seems less clubby and flamboyant but the tracks can still easily serve as edgy DJ tools. This shifts the artist closer to percussion addicts like Pearson Sound or Fade To Mind’s Massacooramaan and Nguzunguzu. Flute-like synths and batalistic rhythms make up the core of “Aire” but it’s the street-life found sounds which make this a piece of truly multi-layered music.
Paul Marmota indulges in using whips, sirens and sounds of sliding mechanical objects to lure the listener into a ferociously dangerous urban environment. Listening to “Aire” feels like the reaction of a pounding heart after a life-threatening run from the police or enemy gang members in the most notorious part of town. Paul Marmota makes poetics for a beautiful but also lethal city.
“Cora” ghostly synths and hair-raising sound of a safety lock released from a gun resemble Fatima Al Qadiri’s “Desert Strike” EP but also the choral trap of Zomby’s “Dedication“. Closing cut “Registro” launches off with a helicopter propeller followed by a deep horn. Is it the sign of a state of emergency or just the score to another PC military game?
Paul Marmota projects the interplay between our minds’ fantasies fueled by the Internet, video games and the omnipotent media and compares them to the brutality of everyday life which can come scarily close to these illusions. With his latest release Paul Marmota further enriches NAAFI’s refreshingly local narrative on today’s Mexico City.
Aire is out now on NAAFI, order a digital copy via iTunes.