Santiago Salazar - Chicanismo

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  • Santiago Salazar has said his time with Underground Resistance in early '00s Detroit was like getting "a degree in techno." Working as a member of the Los Hermanos live band and as an engineer with Mike Banks, he certainly studied hard. Since he returned to his hometown of Los Angeles, Salazar's releases have extolled the kind of gleaming, futurist techno his mentors perfected. His debut album, Chicanismo, sounds like it was frozen in the snows of a Midwestern winter and subsequently thawed in the Californian sunshine. In some ways, that may be true: "Mama Paz" was produced in Detroit circa 2005, and other tracks proudly sport the Motor City's influence. The blissful "Clark Park," with its mellow breaks and iridescent synths, is named after a recreation ground there. He seems to pay tribute to Drexciya in the aquatic shimmer and mysterious electro tinges of "Brownout." Sharing UR's political sensibilities, "The Farce" features a monologue by Chicana activist Cherríe Moraga, decrying the exploitation of American minorities. The Galaxy 2 Galaxy allusions in "Varrio 2 Varrio" go beyond its title—string stabs and wriggling keys align its hi-tech soul firmly with tracks like "Star Sailing." As you'd expect from a producer with his history, Salazar is an impeccable craftsman. The beats of "UKB 2 LAX" pack a hydraulic punch without compromising the bassline's bounce, and "Future Flashback" cruises into dreamy, nostalgic deep house atop a bit of lithe electronic funk. Crucially, Salazar has managed to keep both the soul and structures of classic UR. Only "Ojo Por Ojo" is a touch monotonous, though there are plenty of moments that seem all too familiar. The percussive rhythms of "Mama Paz" and "Sucio Beat" are clear nods to Salazar's Chicano heritage, though they don't bring much to the Latino-techno template laid out by Los Hermanos over a decade ago. Salazar has certainly mastered his studies of Detroit techno, so now he'd do well to seek out his own style.
  • Tracklist
      01. Analog Prayer 02. Brownout 03. UKB to LAX 04. The Farce 05. Sucio Beat #3 06. Future Flashback 07. Mama Paz 08. Ojo Por Ojo 09. Chicanismo 10. Varrio 2 Varrio