Siete Catorce EP, Siete Catorce
by Carlos Reyes
Netlabels are the industrious warehouses for third world electronic music and the best gauges for developing musical scenery. For the past two years, Mexican-Venezuelan tropipop label, Cocobass, has molded an aesthetic and personality like no other young label around. They keep things cool and in fashion by not taking themselves too seriously. In fact, they’re so inconsiderate of credentials that they’ve become known for exploiting their album press releases with vastly creative gimmicks. The label’s latest fable is so macabre in its premise that it seems like a strip taken off Mexico’s Alarma! (an exploitation publication fascinated by crime and corpse photography).
Siete Catorce’s alleged tale concerns a massacre by an 18-year-old who purportedly shot his entire family to death. On his debut EP, Mexicali’s Marco Polo Gutierrez has planted the sinister beats to go along with the shivering premise. As soon as the album opens its curtains it unleashes melodies that evoke mystery and transgression. The bouncy bells in “Cama Invisible” serve as puzzles left by a criminal who wants to get caught and who, like Dexter, gets a little rush by playing the criminal and the detective. “Noche” takes the investigation to further diligence with the embellishment of Hitchcockian aural motifs. The first half of the six track EP is rock solid, but in its second half the concept is reduced to mundane beats that signal social reintegration. Just like its pixilated cover, Siete Catorce is more about flirting with crime than actual butchery.
Siete Catorce builds anxiety and suspense around one track in particular, the album’s heartful “Mariana.” The catchy track puts Gutierrez’s faculty of global bass and house to great use, adding linear narrative through vocals that place him somewhere between rapper and troubadour. This number also comes to show the great deal of influence that María y José and Los Macuanos have implanted in emerging artists all across the spectrum. Gutierrez goes vague on a few occasions (particularly in the inoperative rave numbers), but that’s expected from an outcast. Structurally, Siete Catorce is a delight. Few artists attempt to tell a story only guarded by self-reliance, Gutierrez did it, and he’s only 18 years old.