Santos - 3106 EP

3106 - EP, Santos
Tropic-All, Mexico
Rating: 86
by Zé Garcia

The skeleton of the underrated Mi Technobanda is intact- all the more restless, tempestuous on EP 3106, Santos' latest offering to the ruidosón deities. The sonic formula remains pretty much unchanged from the days of 2012's Shaka- Santos' first truly formidable release- although the execution of dread & dance this time around hits the highest marks. 3106 isn't necessarily more unsettling or challenging than Mi Technobanda: it is more concise, less redundant & simply Santos' most essential work to date.

In 3 minutes and 33 seconds, “Paris" goes for the purest maximalism of his ghastly tocaditas: “hay mi negrita no te vayas, hay mi negrita no me dejes". The disquieted atmosphere- the technobanda is on 10 right now- and Santos' supplications suggest his amada isn't just going overseas, she's leaving this realm and taking everything with her, namely Santos’ heart and sanity. The seductive “Muevelo” tempts us with its percussion de cascabel, a malefic tribe intoxicating itself with libations of darkness: the disfigured self, the existential demons working through our bodies, against ourselves and loved ones. The catacombs open, a foggy pestilence cloaks the pista de baile: "yo quiero mas de tu boom, boom sensual." Just as you think the spell would be winding down, the percussion clatters, digital culebras emerge from their nest, battle drums: it's hard not to imagine vengeful spirits dancing around the burning ballots of rebel Mexico. A track that could make its way into a family Quinceañera DJ's playlist is "El Rescate”, if only the lyrics were not about a girl being kidnapped on her way to get tortillas. The fanfare sounds like the Reyna del Pueblo making her way onstage to receive her crown, the Banda playing, the uncertain eyes of the town upon her. Santos almost sounds like he’s rapping on this one: "ya planean el rescate pero rescantenla a ella no la dejen morir / no dejen que se la crea por tragico que sea / no la vallas a olvidar como todo su país”. The other side of Santos' psyche bemoans: “tiene miedo a morir, tiene miedo de vivir"- his traditional eerie organ synth dazzles, somewhere between misery and euphoria. The trumpet calls help bring us back from a party in purgatory we might not come back from. An omen- a bird call, a llorona harmonizes: "La Nación” is the soundtrack to the uncertainty of the future and the ever present moral turpitude of a failed society- an inaudible Santos in the background sounding like the sinister evening news, suppressed. The final number “Gladiador" is a sinful noche de cabaret from the 1950s, a deformed cha cha cha: crystalline piano stabs, the smell of decadence, broken tequila bottles on the floor, the fog from the mausoleum indistinguishable from the thick layer of cigarette smoke in the air.

On 3106, Santos seems to be taking cues from the neo ruidosón stylings of Siete Catorce, and to a lesser extent the populist dance sensibilities of Erick Rincon's future tribal to great effect. All of his previous work was leading up to this: Santos' sonic aphorisms pulsate stronger than ever before. As ruidosón makes its way into Europe and across the “border” into the “United States”, EP 3106 signals that Santos is finally ready for the world stage, finding some light on the dance floor without losing his eternal homage to the dark. 3106 suggests Santos is getting closer to creating his magnum opus. The next Santos LP will be released sometime in September.

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