Huerta - Junipero

  • The Californian delivers nature-inspired house, minus the kick.
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  • We tend not to associate house music with the outdoors. The genre's origins lie in the sweaty Chicago warehouses and clubs of the '80s. Since then, it's remained a mostly interior pursuit, not only for fans but artists whose music has centered on people rather than plants. This isn't the case for Huerta, whose debut album, Junipero, is inspired by the pristine landscapes of the American west coast. His sun-dappled melodies and watery textures, alongside ornithological track titles ("Waxwing Air"), sculpt nature sounds into a soothing musical retreat. Junipero isn't strictly a house record. Huerta all but renounces the pulsing four-to-the-floor kick, a near constant in his work since 2012. Instead, the Californian, now living in Berlin, foregrounds the New Age and ambient tones that have resonated for decades in his home state. Pastoral odes to the region are commonplace, from New Age progenitor Suzanne Doucet's Reflecting Light Vol. 1 to Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's Buchla compositions, inspired by teeming ecology. Junipero might share few similarities with a New Age label like Wyndham Hill, but it channels a similar breezy atmosphere, thrumming with restorative potential. There's more than a hint of the Vancouver label Mood Hut, especially Slow Riffs or Pender Street Steppers at their most bucolic. But Huerta's sound is more digital—and, by extension, cleaner. This gives his rhythms a special clarity. On "Mutualism," the kick is just a whisper against oceanic synth washes and gently percolating drums. "All Wild Things Are Shy" skips with what might be the year's softest breakbeat. These tracks feel made to induce the sort of emotional and physiological response a walker might encounter in deep nature. Huerta invites listeners to immerse themselves in California's wild places, even if only for a fleeting visit.
  • Tracklist
      01. Pain Relief 02. Blanket Dub 03. Mutualism 04. It Goes Over Me 05. All Wild Things Are Shy 06. Aerial Interlude 07. Plant Memory 08. Waxwing Air 09. The Ritual 10. Road To Toco 11. Tiles And Glass