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Cumbia’s avant hard beat lives on digitally

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: As part of MAC Cosmetics' Scene & Spotted, ZZK Records’ El G describes the new rendering of Latin folk music

TextEl G

ZZK is a contemporary expression of Argentine culture. Argentines do a lot of things well; movies, art, literature, music, but what makes ZZK special is it looks and sounds like Argentina. It's authentic, original, home-grown culture. ZZK for me continues the long lineage of avant-garde forward thinking art and music that Buenos Aires has been breeding for decades. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to tap into what originally brought me down here in the first place, and then be the guy who connected it with the rest of the planet. 

I founded Zizek Club in 2006 and ZZK Records in 2008, and my first impressions of the music scene in Buenos Aires were explosive. I was promoting events around the city and met local legend DJ Nim, who opened up his harddrive and gave me a big taste of what was happening in the underground cumbia, dancehall and experimental beats scene. Nim is a huge purveyor of underground music and we immediately became friends. We've always approached Zizek nights as a kind of laboratory. It's a space where we want people to come and try out new ideas. We push each artist to bring their newest material and try it out on the crowd. Thankfully, from the beginning, our crowds have been open to this, and quite frankly they've come to expect it. We are starting the nights up again this April, in a new space in Buenos Aires and we're kicking it off with two of our biggest artists, the raw drums of Chancha Via Circuito and cumbia pioneers Fauna. 

This year we are super excited with the music we have coming out on the label. Debut albums from the theatrical, bizarre and energetic Frikstailers duo and vocalist and DJ /rupture-collaborator, La Yegros. We're also prepping Chancha Via Circuito's third album and we're getting back to our ZZK Sound compilation, showcasing the freshest South American beats from around the continent and world. This one is going to debut a bunch of new tracks from the ZZK crew, and also introduce a handful of new artists to the world. I heard my first Bossa Nova in Buenos Aires, I got turned onto Cesaria Evora in Buenos Aires, I started listening to Flamenco and Brad Meldhau in Buenos Aires. Porteños (Buenos Aires residents) are eager folks looking for a form of expression. The city is crawling with artists, and that breeds more creativity.

DJ El G, aka Grant C Dull, the founder of digital cumbia label ZZK Records and Buenos Aires’ Zizek club, the vibrant home to cumbia’s tropical, bass-heavy beats - a neon, 21st century re-imagining of folkloric South American music. As part of MAC Cosmetic’s Scene & Spotted project, Dazed collaborated with city editors from Buenos Aires, Stockholm, Berlin, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo who delved into their city’s cultural trends. In the column series with Satellite Voices, each creative explores an inimitable movement currently defining their hometowns.

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