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Chancha Via Circuito - Rio Arriba

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Artist: Chancha Via Circuito

Album: Rio Arriba

Label: ZZK

Review date: Mar. 30, 2011

In Chancha Via Circuito (which sounds like it would mean something very cool-sounding to hip-hop geeks, but in fact translates to “the pig on the circular train,” for what that’s worth), traditional South American drum music may have found its Dilla. CVC is a producer with unimpeachable fundamentalist cred, a mad curiosity about everything, and a once-in-a-generation knack for keeping both active in every second of every piece of music he creates, no matter how danceable or weird it may get.

To produce his sophomore album Rio Arriba, he set out from his native Buenos Aires ’burbs and scoured the continent for native folk rhythms and traditions. He sets his findings against a backdrop of state-of-the-art gorilla-in-the-trunk funk and dizzying sound collage.

This stuff is met, in some quarters, with an automatic cynicism. Which makes sense, when its creators are viewed as well-reared, well-funded big-city carpetbaggers picking up gems at bargain-basement rates from naïve atavists and selling them at obscene markups to urban yupsters. Trust that Rio Arriba is the antithesis of that. Aside from their sublime catchiness and their broken-music-box weirdness, what most closely defines these hybrid tracks is their pervasive sense of urgency, a BDP-level portent that will prove utterly indigestible to the shift managers at your corner Starbucks. Whether we’re talking about the fractured reggae of “Le revancha de Chancha” (featuring a star-making sing-song rant from Fauna) or the gentle foreboding of his opening remix of Jose Larralde’s “Quimey Neuquen” or the eerie and lonesome quasi-dub of “Deportes,” this stuff really tastes like burning.

The mythologically-inclined collective unconsciousness doesn’t do email blasts and it doesn’t have an RSS feed. But to hear this stuff, it’s not getting crushed or co-opted without making its confusions known. Chancha Via Circuito’s thud and glitch don’t bury that rebellion of the spirit. They enhance it.

By Emerson Dameron

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