Following the launch of Mater earlier in the year, Jimmy Van M and Diego Tuñón are back with sister label Xperimental, kicking things off with a fittingly strong release from rising Argentinian producer Ulises.
Ulises is actually a more familiar figure than the name might suggest – it’s an alias of Luxor T, who collaborated with Jimmy Van M on many of his most iconic productions of the past 10 years, including outings on the likes of Bedrock, Selador, Parquet, and Tulipa. His ‘Selknam’ EP sees him in an appropriately experimental and playful mood, with the title track working strange chants and other distinctive vocal samples over a nervous techy groove with a strong bassline. Sirens carry us into the breakdown, where the chanting keeps tension levels high before setting up a surprisingly airy and uplifting drop. It’s not the kind of record I’d play myself, but there’s no denying that Ulises has offered something totally distinctive, creative, and interesting here.
Much more to my own taste, though, is the low-tempo B-side ‘Paracas’. Gentle synth motifs and subtle percussion provide a soothing intro, though there’s a nice touch of menace in the pulsing and intensifying bass here. Crisp breakbeats and cool guitar licks lift the track a little as it gets under steam, before it flowers with hazy, shimmering melodies, a stunning bassline, and four-to-the-floor beats, which are soon joined by a beautiful chiming countermelody. This is simply wonderful from Ulises – at 105bpm it’s unlikely to rock many dancefloors, but it’s a melodic delight nonetheless.
Jimmy Van M and Diego Tuñón are putting out some of the most unique electronic music around, and their commitment to pushing less well-known Latin American producers in particular is really refreshing and positive. Ulises has certainly delivered on the ‘experimental’ promise for this debut release of Xperimental, but he does so without compromising on danceability or listenability, and ‘Paracas’ especially rewards careful listening.