Beggars Group (XL, Young Turks) has released an EP for “Antillas”, an extracted piece from my favorite record of 2008, El Guincho’s Alegranza! This is the second track to get its own release; “Palmitos Park” got its own 7'' vinyl, along with a bonus cover track by The Ruby Suns. El Guincho’s sophomore album is said to be out by the end of this year, no ‘indie’ artist from our region had ever gathered so much attention by music blogs across the web (Pitchfork and its aficionados, including us), he must be feeling some pressure. While that’s on the oven, this Antillas EP is not a bad idea, nothing to die for, but it serves as a nice complementary collection of remixes by several hot remixers.
“Antillas” is not only one of El Guincho’s catchiest tunes; it’s one of his few songs that are lyrically-guided on its structure. Sure a lot of its direction is carried by its surf-like tribal manner, but they’re only obeying the roundness of its lyrics. “A bailar venimos a bailar, venimos al compas y a aguantar el compas y si lo aguantas tu me podras compensar con tu danza sin par…” I suspect most people have taken the song’s vocal layer as a rhythmic tool when it is the heart of its greatness. It’s the tale of a great luminous dancer, the sun and the Caribbean archipelago. The attached sound is brutally repetitious but only to rope the mystical and sunny words; “yo se que tienes luz, no se puede apagar, abrigame en tu sol…”, everything flows without falling into rhyme subversives (the music pattern does that).
Awesome track, but how about the remixes? They are the whole reason to have a proper release in the first place. Well, turns out there are two ‘versions’ of this EP; a not so stimulating Electro-European 4-piece set, and a less strained, more ‘Latino’ 5-piece set. I didn’t care much about the former, but the latter does include memorable takes that can go beyond DJ sets and into personal iPods. Brooklyn’s xxxchange delivers a hazardous simplification of the song, and he pulls it off for the most part. Cee El Haca’s low-rider striking mix is way too timid to stand out. Cumbia’s well known party house Bersa Discos dresses “Antillas” as an infectious cumbia. The closing remix is done by Venezuela’s Todosantos, a great electropop act that’s sadly dispersed now, they have left us with great tunes, their remix being one of them, they really owned it. Great track, middling remixes.