- The Mexican artist presents his best work to date.
- I forget how I discovered Nicolas Guerrero's music, but I remember the feeling: tentative delight. It was 2014 and I was a budding music journalist on the hunt for my next profile. Guerrero, then producing as White Visitation or WV, was the ideal candidate: fresh on the scene and clearly talented. I particularly loved Tape 1, a dubby EP packed with frayed edges and dawn melodies. Fast-forward to 2020 and Guerrero revisits Tape 1 on Six Rooms, his first EP in four years. It's an "updated, redux version," he said over email.
Like Tape 1, Six Rooms, which launches Guerrero's new label, AKITA, spans six tracks. The comparisons go deeper: the new EP also goes heavy on tape hiss, echo and dusty earworms, and there's a nice range of moods and styles on show, all of them encased in a light fog. Opener "Mediata" could even be from Tape 1, its glacial trudge evoking a string quartet lost in a blizzard.
All that said, Six Rooms is a stronger, more mature record. If Tape 1 was all dank hypnotism, then this EP injects that aesthetic with colour and curious twists and turns. Guerrero swaps four-on-the-floor beats for nifty rhythms that form slowly and morph unexpectedly. Bleeps and melodies zoom in and out of focus, like on the misty roller "Drops," with its glorious arpeggio. Or the closing cut, "Return To The House Of Mercury," whose drums gallop beneath crackle, live cymbals and jazzy notes. You can see why Timedance came calling.
Vocals, too, are massaged into alien shapes. On "One Day," the most original club track I've heard this year, Guerrero creates a wicked juddering effect by glueing cries to gated drums. He does something similar, if less dramatic, on the eerie dubstep cut "Elkanah Settle," kneading breathy warbles into a melody. Such crafty tricks mean the cleaner vocal on "Mercury Waves/One Song"—think Bon Iver trapped down a well—sounds out of place, even if the piano sparkles. It's the only off-kilter moment on an otherwise beautiful record.
03. One Day
04. Elkanah Settle
05. Mercury Waves/One Song
06. Return To The House Of Mercury