Club Fonograma's Best Songs of 2011 (40-21)

40. Kali Mutsa - "Tunupa" ♫♫♫
Diving into the majestic depths of Kali Mutsa means to give 3/4 of yourself away to a world of crafty rituals, afflicting gastronomical feasts, and powerhouse operas. In its demo version “Tunupa” was already a standout, but its finished edit substitutes the demo’s program-based skeleton and reconditions the adventure with the warmth and romanticism of wooded instruments. This healing piece achieves the sort of celestial plethora that can only be experienced by immersing your soul into the fragmented pupils of a black cat. A boundless, irresistible, and velvety single that placed Celine Reymond on our list of platform-hoping visionaries. - Reyes

39. Helado Negro - "Regresa" ♫♫♫
By now, readers of Club Fonograma might be keenly aware of Lange's exploits in projects such as ROM, Savath y Savalas, and Epstein. Lange proves that his scope expands beyond these creative endeavors through his powerful ability to reference outside of himself. Appropriating the ocean wave distortions of chillwave, “Regresa” introduces a snowstorm of distortion and feedback. While Lange’s love letters (or vague text messages given that this is an electronic record) are sung aloud in a crooning fashion, his voice is often matted as sotto voce, made to pose as a chorus or even an owl singing. - Mata-Anaya

38. Violeta Vil - "Toronjil"
Band members Monica Di Francesco and Yanara Espinoza describe their sound as tropical goth, and “Toronjil” makes that premise a reality. This piece is a fest of affiliated, bone-deep sentiment portrayed with a mundane narrative and shadowy instrumental sequencing. “They took out a molar the day of her communion” is the first line in a song that sounds like it was carved by a cult of Catholic dentists, so austere in its form and yet, so obtainable in its rhythm. - Reyes

37. Babasónicos - "Flora y Fauno"
After mingling with pop on their last two records, this is the grand entrance in which the band acknowledges they’ve been dealing with exotic lands. "Now let me deceive myself, I understand that I'm not to be trusted," bursts a self-sabotaged Adrian Dargelos in this western-like number that feels dualistic, vile, and shaken to tears. In the most poetic and metaphorical of diagrams, the band screams to the world that they have not lost any muscle or their emblematic smugness. They do however, warn of a new approach to conversation obeying an almost dry panorama. Babasonicos, the eternal troublemakers. - Reyes

36. Shakira feat. El Cata - "Rabiosa"
We all know that after Shakira made her successful crossover, she hasn’t remotely released anything as brilliant as Dónde están los ladrones?, yet it’s hard to go wrong with most of her subsequent albums' singles. The Colombian pop icon expertly offers hit after hit, and, without Pitbull’s intervention (no, thanks), pairs up with Dominican rapper El Cata (like in "Loca"). The Spanish version of “Rabiosa” is way better. It’s a hot and sexy club banger that, yeah, invites to rub bodies on the dancefloor and even get kind of nasty (“aráñame la espalda y muérdeme la boca”); sweaty shirt, vodka drinks, and flirtatious night included. - Coyotzi

35. Dani Shivers - "Witch" ♫♫♫
Tijuana newcomer Dani Shivers is our favorite mean girl out of all the bloody femme fatales coming out of Iberoamerica. For years she’s been under the radar, flirting with formless freestyle beats and putting her witty psyche into music boxes. When her first proper single “Witch” came our way, we immediately knew she was employing form and was determined to sneak into our generation's most exclusive line of enfant terribles. "Witch" discloses the artist’s resourceful methods: a semi-cute voice colored in crimson, articulated throbs, and nostalgically sinister aesthetics. The death of innocence through casiotone. - Reyes

34. Bam Bam - "Ragatrón" ♫♫♫
It only takes a second into the song to feel you’re being lifted to a higher ground in a whimsical dance battle between light, instruments, and electronic swarms. The soundscape in “Ragatrón” is as packed as our galaxy, yet it gravitates with ease amongst the nebulae, cosmic rays, and all that stellar matter surrounding intergalactic space. The lyrics narrate a beautiful story of a galactic creature/force who invites a "lost dreamer" into a life-changing journey. - Reyes

33. Lido Pimienta - “Luces” ♫♫♫
Listening to Lido Pimienta’s Color album from last year felt like a roller-coaster experience, as we were witnessing the evolution of an artist who could display a diverse array of sounds and make us feel a great disparity of emotions. “Luces,” the only material Lido has released this year, brings into one track so many elements from that EP together: the uneasiness and gloomy tones of “Buena Persona,” the optimistic message of integration delivered in “Humano,” and the sophisticated samples and string arrangements of “Progreso.” It’s music that feels despairing as much as it is encouraging. - Lestruahut

32. Adrianigual - "Arde Santiago" ♫♫♫
If El Medio’s “Que bueno que nadie piensa en mi” is the embodiment of the #ForeverAlone meme, then Éxito Mundial’s opening track, “Arde Santiago,” must be the epithet of #DisasterGirl. Under eloquent production by Alex Anwandter (a master of disco songcraft), this first track pictures Chile’s capital city in devastating flames. Our character, however, gazes back only to rejoice the burning of his bridges (“atras arde Santiago, es un dia muy feliz”). - Beriot

31. Natalia Molina -
"Cuna de Piedras"
This is a shimmering analog recording that evokes anger, infatuation, and a seamless tenderness that make for one of the bravest numbers of the year. Unrestrained of any emotion, Molina crafted a song about hitting bottom and getting back up into a world of nourishing cruelty (a place where happiness is only suggested). “You taught me to live like this, I don’t fear lying down to die,” she sings in a rallying cry. Shading its topics between unconditional love and conformity, Molina sings from somewhere very deep. And when I mean sing, I mean SING like singing is supposed to be done. - Reyes

30. Installed - "Que No" ♫♫♫
In “Que No,” Installed repeats the line, “doctor, estoy bien,” as a reassurance that seems more targeted at himself than his doctor, like a self-affirmation that he is, indeed, fine. It’s a revealing almost-mantra that seems very personal, like the listener is intruding on a very private moment. Even when the song talks about someone else, it feels very introspective, examining Installed’s own relation and reaction to that person. - Méndez

29. MKRNI - "Humedad" ♫♫♫
Through Punto’s seductive yet disconcerting tonality and a dulcet beat bordering on cumbia, "Humedad" tastefully refashions tropical psicodélica sounds. This gem could easily be described as one of the most exciting pop tunes to come out this summer. The warm and almost whispered "hace calor sin sol, hace calor sensual" made those particularly execrable hot, sticky days in the city seem bearable. "Humedad" clearly demonstrates MKRNI’s ability to create music that will get you moving the coffee table out of the way, kicking up heels, and dancing til dawn. - Martin-Saoudi

28. Alex Anwandter - "Shanana"
Everything about "Shanana" is perfect - the light silverware-to-glassware rhythm section in the backdrop, the dream disco vocals of the chorus, the slightly wobbly bass line, the delicate, yet direct lyrics...all of it. I like to imagine this song as Anwandter singing to himself and the farewell that he mentions being him saying good-bye to the self that lacks feeling and is afraid of the world to step into that world that so terrifies him. This is perfectly illustrated at the end when the cymbal crash gives way to a limbo of strings, then the machine gun-esque percussion finally breaks through to the clarity of the trumpet-synth in the last few seconds. - Méndez

27. Mañaneros - "El Volcán" ♫♫♫
As proven by this boiling tribal piece, Chilean pop holds more tribes than we know of. Mañaneros’ “El Volcán” is an audio screengrab of the album art fronting Mexicans with Gun’s LP, Ceremony. While that MWG album can be seen as an anthology of the electronic music consumed by Chicanos in the past twenty years, “El Volcán” is a triumphant march toward a horizon of contemporary ethno-technos. Eruptions of wildcats and interruptions of pre-Columbian prayers all build up to form one of this year’s mostly timely and complete dance numbers. - Mata-Anaya

26. Fakuta - "Virreinatos" ♫♫♫
The sublime tears generator “Virreinatos” is probably my favorite song of the whole thing. Like dubstep wunderkind James Blake, Fakuta values space and silence, extracting gems out of these qualities. A melancholic realization about how at times we believe we’re indestructible as a fortress (“¿cómo es que tu imperio no ha de caer?”), the glitch fragility of “Virreinatos” is boundless. - Coyotzi

25. Roman S - "La hora de bailar" ♫♫♫
This is what the folks at Discos Pegaos call a “hedonistic dance statement.” And they’re absolutely right. It’s all about unapologetically giving in to the pleasure of dance. The track begins with early morning sounds, the kind you hear when you’ve been partying all night and finally stumble home as the sun rises. And dancing until morning is exactly what the song wants you to do. First you ease in with the subdued percussion and pseudo-slow mo provocative bass, then you amp things up with the spacey, jittery synths, then the alluring repetition of “es hora de bailar” seals the deal, and you’re not leaving the dance floor until dawn. - Méndez

24. Hypnomango -
“El mundo no es real”
Something about a song named “El mundo no es real” is immediately grabbing. The concept of isolation at such affirmative terms is moving, almost heart-wrenching. Here we got a song that’s almost cheerless (“nada es real”), but self-responsive (“yo ya no existo”). In its own fuzzy way, it’s celebrating its existence, and that’s just what we needed back in January as we boarded the youth-in-revolt train. Well-punched sequences, self-destructive drums, and dissonant vocals describe Hypnomango, the hot new band from Monterrey. - Reyes

23. Astro - "Ciervos" ♫♫♫
Astro's first long-winded single “Ciervos” simulates the spacing, elevation, and movement of a post-industrial world where the variables of a natural environment and a human-built environment are still struggling to find order. And just like that, frontman Andres Nusser and his Astro clan make it really clear that they’ll use every technique they know (even if they turn out excessive) to force you to puke all logical narratives and all your city demons. - Reyes

22. Algodón Egipcio -
“La Tran
sformación” ♫♫♫
Like the well-packaged titles of his songs, Algodon Egipcio’s shrewdness for craftsmanship is of inner expression and experience, but also attentively in dialogue with its era. In dialogue, but not in tune. Cheky’s platforms neither practice nor reject vocation, they’re just "flowy." All these conditions allow for such a song like “La Transformación” to be read as a piece about the alteration of data, genetics, your virtual "Second Life" character, or a full metamorphosis (and how sadly, there's rarely a "back" button). - Reyes

21. Prietto Viaja al Cosmos
con Mariano - "
El Bombero" ♫♫♫
Regardless of what side of Prietto's double album you decide to pop in first, this number is the undeniable core of Prietto's symmetrically reflective experience. Psychedelic ambiance and dusty strings bundle up into deeply disorienting landscape. In two discs that sound quite monotone and quiet, the stirring “El Bombero” is a shout from the band to say they're on duty. Also, a ready-for-archive epic moment in continental rock. - Reyes