Fonobisa - 12:68

12:68, Fonobisa
Bad Pop, Mexico
Rating: 84
by Enrique Coyotzi

It’s a well-known fact that the best Mexican producers (Mock the Zuma, Siete Catorce, Wyno) are hailing from the north, but we can’t ignore other often overlooked artists (Kryone, Turning Torso, Carlos Pesina and his many pseudonyms) based in some of the country's central states, whose fruitful labor has also helped to shape the national electronic field. The prolific Edgar Mota (aka Colateral Soundtrack or cltrlsndtrck), member of the disappeared Los Amparito, easily fits into this category. The tapatío's last EP as cltrlsndtrck, Cifras, put him in the spotlight, but more recently, he’s been acquiring more attention with his newest project, Fonobisa, playing at gigs like Festival Antes and becoming a favorite for the NAAFI parties’ lineups.

As Fonobisa, Mota’s been restless. He’s offered three compelling EPs in 2013, where he has explored from crazy, kinetic footwork (Frecuencia errónea) to weird-as-fuck, chopped postcard experiments (Abstracción). Still, his most absorbing contribution appeared between these both, with the playful, jaw-dropping 12:68. Under the mixtape format, the producer expertly tests his poppiest facet yet, along with a top-notch selection of collaborators, including Matilda Manzana, Pájaro Sin Alas, Onenina (Capullo’s Cris), and Marinero (Francisco y Madero’s Jess Sylvester), while devoting himself to a concept that feels both flexible and wide-ranging, allowing the listener the possibility of free interpretation—a circular release that can truly be perceived as cyclic, as well as mind-expanding on its own.

The seven songs' names point out specific hours of this time lapse. Starting with the title track, 12:68 takes off in an introspective, almost meditative, lo-fi dance note. Thick bass, a jaunty rhythm, and Marinero’s ethereal vocals set the mood. In “5:17,” urgency is the key. Pájaro Sin Alas, with his towering voice, delivers a fiery performance with a trace of Radiohead's anxious efforts in Amnesiac. Revisiting the chemistry between both, Fonobisa teams up for a second time with Matilda Manzana in the bouncy, ghostlike “6:06,” which Óscar Rodríguez has described as “anti-scene.” Onenina's contribution turns out as the most entertaining. Fonobisa’s shadowy landscapes represent a different zone for Cris, yet she unravels with no problem, singing one of the year’s catchiest hooks (“No puede procesar tus labios en tiempo real”). Nevertheless, the only piece sung-spoken (à la Daniel Maloso) by Mota, “11:25 ( mensaje directo ),” takes the whole prize. “Como un loop estás en mi razón,” the beatmaker enounces over reflective, neon-like synth lines nuanced by increasingly voluptuous beats and swooning effects, setting the body into inevitable motion. “11:25 ( mensaje directo )” wouldn’t feel out of place inside the Cómeme catalog. The roundness of 12:68 arrives courtesy of Hiram Martínez's 2-step pacifying edit of the title track—a version which definitely spells "hangover."

Up to this stage, it’s fair to establish the incredibly creative Edgar Mota as one of Mexico’s top electronic underground figures. His cerebral approach is defying as well as inspiring, and no one around sounds like him right now. One must check out his whole body of work to actually understand (and taste) his entire artistry. However, with 12:68 he’s crafted a sensationally contagious and outstanding entry point to discover what his challenging music is all about.