Error.Error - FATAL EP

FATAL EP, Error.Error
Lowers, Mexico
Rating: 72
by Reuben Torres

Back in the days of our budding scene...

Actually, that’s a lousy way to kick off this review. Efren Valenzuela, who currently operates under the handle Error.Error but once paved the way for many a bedroom pop act under the guise Orso Verona, admittedly detests that word. Scene. He's always referred to it as too clique-y, too denotative of an in-crowd, and all the dirty hipster politics it entails.  And, well, he’s right. That’s exactly what his label, Lalala4e, was back in its heyday (sans the dirty politics). Built from a fringe crowd that consisted of young, twenty-somethings—mostly outsiders in their respective vicinities—who scarcely knew each other beyond Internet protocols, Valenzuela’s label was what first gave the world a taste of Mexico’s most forward-thinking (ass backwards-sounding) avant-pop.  It was there that a number of Pepepe’s first psych-folk experiments surfaced, which would later evolve into the picturesque soundscapes of Los Amparito and Francisco y Madero and where a relatively unknown goth songstress, Dani Shivers, would first debut her ingenuous brand of horror pop.

The list, of course, goes on. Artists like Mock The Zuma, María y José (and yes, Los Macuanos), would probably not exist today if not for the initial platform that Lalala4e provided, and of course, without the enormous influence of Valenzuela’s musical forays. But, then, that all sounds so historical and petrified. It’s only been, what? Five, six years? The label still exists. For chrissakes, the man is still alive! He’s just been tucked away somewhere, doing what he’s always done best: noisy, accidental, bedroom pop. 

Which is not to say that his music is a fluke by any means. But there’s always been an element of childlike curiosity to all his work, a kind of tabula rasa approach to computer music production that’s at once hi-tech and punk in the purest denotation of both terms. As the track titles on FATAL might suggest, there’s also a quality of malfunction present throughout his work. Like its elegant, yet putrefactive, digital cover—masterfully designed by Lowers’ own Crocat—the music in FATAL evokes misinterpreted binary code and its fragmented by-products. “Accidente 3” could well have sounded like a Plastikman knock-off, were it not that it sounds like it was bathed in a barrel of lye.

And. well, that’s Error.Error in a nutshell. If that sounds like something you might be interested in, do yourself a favor and stock up on Valenzuela’s entire back catalogue (Orso Verona's "I Want a Cute Girlfriend," Zonzobot's Bacanora, and Error.error's Superdark are great places to start), available now at your local Tower Records store, or whatever.