One Track Mind: G-Flux, “Ritmo Universal”
Standout Track: Side A, “Ritmo Universal,” a nu-cumbia cut from NoMa resident Gustavo Naranjo, aka G-Flux. The reggae-leaning track from his new 7-inch—the first local release on Arlington-via-Brooklyn label Electric Cowbell—features vocals from cumbiatronica stars El Comanche and Larry Mon of Guadalajara’s Los Master Plus. (The song also appears on his album, G-Sound.) “I knew that I wanted to lightly layer their voices and give the whole thing a vintage dub sound,” says Naranjo, 39.
Musical Motivation: Naranjo likes to call his music “space cumbia,” which is one of the many tributaries forged by the original Afro-Colombian form and Peruvian chicha. The microgenre combines elements of cumbia pop from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, Naranjo says, “with heavy emphasis on vintage synths and guitars, and also incorporating elements of electronic music as well as production styles similar to reggae and dub.”
Politics of Dancing: “I see electro-cumbia as a global movement of the working class,” Naranjo says. The track’s lyrics aren’t especially political, but Naranjo points out that the confluence of identities and experiences behind the music could make a larger statement. Referring to himself and Los Masters Plus, Naranjo says, “here we are talking about a guy from Mexico City that emigrated to the U.S. over 10 years ago and became a producer, and two cats from Monterrey that wear silk cowboy shirts, hats, and hi-top sneakers at their shows.” That, he says, is a political statement itself—“about the culture of machismo and violence in Mexico.” To G-Flux, “making this music together seems to me very political and talks about creating a new multicultural generation of listeners.”
G-Flux DJs a release party at Café Saint-Ex on Nov. 19. Listen to "Ritmo Universal" after the jump.