Blind Prophet Records, Argentina
by Pierre Lestruhaut
Even at a time where technology and digital media has considerably reduced the barriers that would keep music, and culture in general, to a certain extent tied to a their geographical context, it’s still both difficult and careless to ignore the influence of this context over a specific production. For most publications writing about Mueran Humanos, an Argentine couple based in Berlin, it’s precisely their move from New World to Old World that has raised some eyebrows, primarily in how their music seems so tied to the musical heritage of Berlin and Gemany, despite them not totally dismissing their Argentine roots by writing their lyrics in Spanish.
Part of Italian label Old Europa Cafe and its roster of industrial sounds and dark ambient styles, the album was released in America through young label Blind Prophet Records. And it actually hit our radar through the attention it received from popular tastemaker sites like Stereogum and Altered Zones, thus fitting under the incredibly wide spectrum of what could be rashly referred to as dark music influenced by the post-punk era. Which is probably the kind of music you’d expect from a band whose female half is known for making gore collages out of preexisting photos, hence the album cover, that I would have probably described in very uncreative fashion as “a very fucked up portrait.” But, thankfully, Carlos Reyes managed to put it better as “that Bloody Mary, dissolved, almost vagina-looking cover.”
Initial track “Horas Tristes” sets the cadence for the rest of the album: throbbing beats, and hypnotic sinister synth lines gradually leading the way to a burgeoning guitar strumming as Carmen Burguess delivers horror tale-like readings that finally culminate in the luscious chant, “cuantas horas tristes serán.” That last line then sees itself morphed into a discordant replication, and the track gains in dissonance all the way into its uproaring climax, as Mueran Humanos display their affection for abrasiveness, aggression, and lyrical provocation. Probably the main reason why most people talking about the duo insist on how Berlin, and its role in the development of krautrock, industrial music, and techno, fits so well as a shelter for the Argentine couple.
One might also easily see this as being in hand with the duo’s unearthly aesthetics, as most of these musical references refuse, or at least try to separate themselves from, the effortlessness and melodic appeal of pop music in general (though without wanting to explore the limits of noise either). Yet, in their greatest songs, Mueran Humanos actually find their beauty behind the heavy melodic work in their use of vocals and how it eventually manages to share pop music’s desire to gratify its listeners by treating them to something that is ultimately very pleasurable to listen to. Just like “Festival de las Luces” or “Monstruo," and how they use that industrial minimalist instrumentation, the occasional '80s synth lines, and the doomsday scenarios (“Llueven autos.....llueve sangre...”), all in aid of the pleasure that is given by their use of vocals. Because behind all the macabre scenarios, dissonance, and overall stiffness to approach, Mueran Humanos is simply a record that’s very enjoyable to listen to.