María y José - "Bruja"

“It's a pleasure to share one's memories. Everything remembered is dear, endearing, touching, precious. At least the past is safe - though we didn't know it at the time. We know it now because it's in the past, because we have survived.”

-Susan Sontag

Back in 2011 Carlos Reyes observed Tony Gallardo’s habit of self-inflicting “sudden social network deaths and resurrections.” I later came to understand this as the effects of an artist cursed with ambition. With María y José, the Mexican producer has led us through all the high and lows in his career. A story of success and deceptions with an indifferent industry, against an ever-changing landscape (consider how reggaetón’s comeback has buried the once unstoppable force of tribal). But María y José still remains, and thankfully so does his ambition.

Currently Tony Gallardo has relocated to Mexico City. The move has fueled a new creative streak along with the promise of fresh music. Before initiating this new cycle Gallardo delivered a swan song to mark the new year. “Bruja” attempts to weather a wave of dread and pain. The wounded singer barely outpaces the crippling loneliness he faces. His lyrics come direct, sometimes hard to confront (“Me quiero morir... Si tu no me das, me das tu cariño”). Adding to this, the composition overflows with soapy synths that further remove us from the song’s tactile and accessible qualities. Stay with it, though. Crossing the halfway mark, something distinct occurs. Flute sounds are cranked up to the highest pitch practically simulating a flauta tezcatlipoca. Gallardo draws out this performance as a last-ditch attempt to recall good things, to reconcile the glory of Espíritu Invisible and the unknown future. What is left is a victory. We have survived.