Music of the furthest countries from Japan ~Avant-garde pop after the Argentina Folktronica boom~

by Hitoshi Kurimoto(2017.7.25)

There are various types of music in the world. I think the Latin-American music is the most interesting of them. Since those countries are on the opposite side of the world from Japan, their energetic and stylish songs and music are totally different from Japanese and so attractive for me. Let’s focus on such unique Latin-American music in this series.

I’ll introduce Argentina unconventional music in this first issue. A music genre called Argentina Folktronica was introduced to Japanese music fans in the early 21st century. Even if you cannot remember what this type of music sounds like, you might be familiar with the eye-catching artwork of the album “Segundo” (2000) by Juana Molina. Not only her but also other unique musicians, such as Fernando Kabusacki, Alejandro Franov, Mono Fontana, Gaby Kerpel, etc. were in the spotlight, and import CD shops in Japan dealt with them on a large scale then.

Argentina Folktronica (which was actually coined in Japan) was not a temporary vogue. The Argentinian music scene is a hothouse that produces such experimental musicians and this genre has still been improving now. I’ll introduce some Argentina avant-garde pop musicians here.


First of all, Juana Molina is a musician to be reckoned with in this genre. She is active internationally, and constantly releases great songs. Her newest album “Halo” (2017) is different from her previous works that were like bedroom pop; she recorded the new one with the musicians who played at her concerts. She made up a new world with a dynamic and indigenous music while keeping her daydream-like atmosphere in the new album. Her eerie music videos also always amaze people.

Juana Molina
「Paraguaya」

 


I want to say that the multi-instrumentalist Axel Krgier is a male version of Juana Molina both in name and reality. He started his solo careers in 1999. Some of his songs are pop and catchy, but still warped and sort of strange. He adopts indigenous sound, such as Cumbia and Latin-American folklore in his music with a radical approach. His album “Hombre De Piedra” (2016) had a strong impression as usual.

Axel Krygier
「Invitame」

 


Florencia Ruiz is one of the musicians who were acclaimed in the Argentina Folktronica boom like Juana Molina. However, she is more mysterious and otherworldly than Molina. Her noble songs with lucidity are pleasant to the ear and make us realize something tricky in the sound at the same time. In 2016, she played with the living legend Mono Fontana in her album “Parte.” Her music is as if throwing a foreign substance into a clear fountain that makes us excited.

Florencia Ruiz Mono Fontana
「Hacia El Final」

 


I’ll introduce some new musicians here. Guo Cheng is a band that was formed with a vocalist and sound creator Mario Caporali as the central figure. They show us various worlds from a fairyland to a nightmare with classical stringed instruments, percussion including folk instruments and electronic instruments. Their newest album “Caballo, Yeah!” (2016) is more electronic than previous ones, but you can still hear their labyrinth-like sound in it.

Guo Cheng
「Time To Sound」

 


A musician that has had the strongest impact recently is Aoutló. They are a music duo formed by Marco who samples beats and a drummer RK. They make unique manpower breakbeats. Their noisy beat is like the early Argentine Folktronica’s, and its lo-fi and elaborated side is like a current new jazz and post-rock. The song below was, as you see the title, inspired by their experience in Japan, but mixed with flamenco for some reason.

Aoutló
「Pachinko」

 


I found Zigo Rayopineal on YouTube by chance. His music seems to be made with free use of electronic instruments, but has a hand-made feel at the same time because of the sound that was mixed with sound of a theremin and environmental sound that was recorded outside of a recording studio with a four-truck cassette recorder. It looks he and Fernando Kabusacki know each other, but I haven’t had concrete information about him yet.

Zigo Rayopineal

 


As I introduced here, the Argentine experimental music scene is crawling with various types of unconventional music. Find your favorite one that stimulates your brain.