Empacho Digital, Villa Diamante


ZZK Records, Argentina
Rating: 80
By Carlos Reyes

Villa Diamante, one of the pillars from ZZK Records has compiled a stellar set of dualistic showdowns. Empacho Digital is a filthy, messy, exuberant if not impossible beautiful album of strange musical complication, reconciliation, and above all, discussion. It’s not just another cumbia mashup; it’s a progression of all sorts and an improvised connection of Latin-American pop. If you’re familiar with the popular mix of Calle 13 vs M.I.A. you can expect more of it, thankfully Villa Diamante (Diego Bulacio) never allows himself to work on formulas; he rather takes on every piece individually sounding groundbreaking and at its finest moments, like a very industrialized pool of music.

I always have a space of reserved incognita with most remixes/mashups albums; the ideal initiative would be to redefine a song in some kind of culture-crossing, not for a DJ to show off its skill but to work around the track without negotiating a certain line of respect to the original idea. Villa Diamante works with precise, subtle mechanics, he doesn’t redefine these pieces, on the contrary it steps out of author-zone to dress himself as an attentive, sonically connoisseur referee of these dualistic at times historic moments. Don’t expect something as brutally complex and unrehearsed as Girl Talk, this is way more stretched but if like us, you’re a fan of Pibe Cosmo’s B-Side, get ready for an overflow of rhythms coming your way.

Empacho Digital is divided into three chapters; the title/headliner is made of 20 tracks that are mostly inclined to cumbia and Hip Hop. Some of them are more conceptual than others, “El Trip Selectors vs Voltio vs Tego Calderon” is brilliantly messy, “Oro 11 vs Kelis” is effortlessly epic while “Chancha Via Circuit vs Nelly” is totally unexpected, well, it’s not out-of-this-world crazy but the outcome is indeed a surprise. Other highlights from this chapter include “Intoxicados”, “Frikstailers vs Calle 13”, and “Chancha Via Circuit vs Lil Mama.” Honestly, I wish it would’ve fully ended with this chapter, 40 tracks are more of a hustle, but I learned to be receptive of the next chapters once I knew these were segmented into a Past-Present-Future order.

The next two chapters Dubsteperismo and Rock AR are shorter in length, a bit less exciting but nonetheless plenty of risky fun and shockers. Dubsteperismo is kind of wild, includes songs by muses Lykke Li and Juana Molina. Rock AR mixes Argentinean rockers Victoria Mil, Charly Garcia and Babasonicos with Clipse, Busta Rhymes and Crime Mobb. Also admirable is he’s selection of good-to-great reggaeton artists that go from Alexis y Fido to Julio Voltio and of course Tego Calderon.There’s no doubt Villa Diamante is fully aware of pop culture, but these mixes would’ve worked even more if they had been released earlier. I can’t say I discovered any new names in these 40 pop episodes, but take these as statements of what’s happening around us and as a consequence of a much needed virtual bond-prospect in today’s spoiled music industry.