Carmen Cosmos - "Luces"

Our compilations aren’t exclusively made out of entries the artists send us (near 300 tracks for our latest one). Much of the magic and fun of curating such a thing is to hunt for virtually unknown music, from virtually unknown indie scenes. “The great revelation from the new compilation is the Dominican Republic, by far,” tweeted Miguel Franco (from the now vanished blog, Noche Pasta). I can’t remember the right combination of clicks I did to get to Carmen Cosmos (one of three Dominican acts on Papasquiaro). Nothing on her soundcloud profile was instantly gratifying, but there was a certain tropical warmthness to her music that reminded me that time I came across Rita Indiana’s “La Sofi.”

Serving an interlude/transitional role for the compilation (like the track by Gepe), “Luces” plays like a fast bullet that equalizes the canvas for whatever it’s ahead. But it's more than an interlude. The imagery of the song is as beautiful as it is brutal. Carmen exclaims over dreamy beats about a Chinese man whose guts turn into water after falling into a pit, and how about she would rather be poked with a fork than with a knife. Seriously, you need that tropical warmthness (without falling into the stereotype) to execute the construction of these images with such a pulsating voice and melodic timing. Recorded very improperly (for headphones), I sent the demo of the track to Bill Yonson, who I thought would do a fine job mastering the track and understanding Carmen Cosmos’ sensibility. In my mind, she is that “Chola” he sings about later in Papasquiaro. They now inform me they’re actually making music together, of course putting a smile on me from ear to ear.