Historial de Caídas, El Sueño de la Casa Propia
Pueblo Nuevo, Chile
by Andrew Casillas
There’s nothing really original about Historial de Caidas. Actually, now that I think about it, there’s nothing really original about El Sueño de la Casa Propia, either. I mean, glitchy, sample-fueled electronica has been making its way around clubs for the past 20-25 years or so. Much of this kind of stuff could rightfully be accused of being easy, lazy, boring, or confused (I’m looking at you, Greg Gillis). However, there are certainly exceptions that float up from time-to-time: You've Come A Long Way, Baby , Since I Left You, and Thunder, Lightning, Strike are perhaps the quickest that come to mind—and for good reason. Each of those records is a complex, dedicated, and gutsy album, yet also built-up a sincere and engaging narrative that kept their unapologetic thievery (in the legal sense) from seeming wrong and empty.
Historial de Caídas doesn’t quite reach the heights of those mentioned above, but it certainly makes a valiant and satisfactory effort. Jose Manuel Cerda Castro, the man behind the El Sueño de la Casa Propia, seems to have a decent understanding of pre-digital electronic music. His sample manipulation is rudimentary, but not elementary; almost like early-90’s IDM. When the record starts to perk up the glitches and pops, Castro doesn’t override or counteract his beat, he makes sure it stays central to the auxiliary sounds. Let’s use the most-notorious track on the album, the (obviously) Michael Jackson-sampling “A la Velocidad del Amor,” as an example: about halfway through, the MJ “whoo”’s and looped guitar picking eventually clash into each other in a frantic, almost exaggerated fashion. With a lesser mixer, these pieces would come off as bold as a 30 Rock smash cut, which works completely fine in a top-quality American sitcom, but not with this sort of music. But Castro gives the entire track an atmosphere where the transitions and manipulations become natural and logical—an impressive trick, indeed.
From this point on, it’d be futile and a bit time-wasting to single out any other highlights, which, in a way, also highlights how solid this record really is. So what I’m going to do is just encourage you to listen to this, however you’d like. If you’re a record-hoarder, you’ll definitely have a great time playing “spot the sample” (psst, the most interesting is the Bowie one, the best utilized is the Flaming Lips mouth-beat); if you’re a fan of this sort of sampledelica, you’ll find this to be the giddiest record that the Go! Team ever made (and without the shitty mixing!); if you like pop music that makes you dance, well, you’ll certainly dance.
And honestly, that’s the true appeal here. This is a record that’s deep, complicated, and full of warmth and optimism. But it also sounds like a banger playing on your speakers. Something for your head and your tippy toes. It’s an almost-great record in a genre that rarely makes almost-great records. And if you hear this and disagree, well then you’ll always have your Girl Talk and the Big Bang Theory. The rest of us will be here nodding and watching Community.