Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

ZZK Sound Vol. 3 [ZZK/Waxploitation, 2013]
The third compilation from this adventurous if narrowcast Buenos Aires label--which on its first comp five years ago (see below) classified its milieu as "cumbia digital"--has gotten some respect in the U.S. dance world, but zero comprehension near as I can tell, which may not matter much when you're dancing but ought to when you're verbalizing into the infosphere. For instance, the first thing this Anglophone in an office chair wants to know is whether it's dance music at all. The most detailed review I've found references "intoxicating electro-pulsating beats derived mainly from the Buenos Aires club scene" and promises it will render the listener "better aquainted [sic] with the dance and electronic underground of South America." And these electro-pulsations sound how, exactly? Find hints in the label squib: "there's a darker, last hour of the club feel to it, everybody sweaty and grooving to deep bassy cumbia infested tracks." To which promo poetry I add a few prosaic facts. Moderate-to-submoderate tempos that speed up gradually over 15 tracks. Low-end sonics not so much bassy as buzzy. Never ambient or chill-out, there's always a beat, but not floor-fillers either. Cumbia roots submerged. DJs mostly Argentinian but also from Paris, Barcelona, NYC, Mexico, Caracas, maybe Sweden. General ambience tends humorous--and friendly, as befits the cumbia tradition. Animators seeking soundtrack could do worse. A-