I am back from the land of the incredibly busy and catching up on the mountains of great music that has been awaiting my ear for the past month. Near the top of the list was the debut album from Peru’s masked cumbia viajeros Dengue Dengue Dengue! The duo have been causing waves, not just in Peru, but internationally for their fresh take on digital cumbia and performances at Lima’s TOMA! fiestas. Their two mixtapes (Vol. 1 & Vol. 2) set a precedent for their fresh digital cumbia explorations, showcasing the producers’ talent for a good remix alongside their burgeoning production/dancefloor-science skills.
The culmination of these explorations is La Alianza Profana, one of only a few independent albums to emerge from the mass of tropical / digital /cumbia productions floating around Soundcloud these days. As much as I’d like to throw away the “digital cumbia” association, DDD’s album is threaded together with that rhythm in digital form making it hard to judge it as anything else. The album however shows why DDD stand out as two of the most interesting producers of their ilk, skilfully mixing influences from electronica, dubstep, dub, cumbia (of course) and god knows what else.
While El Remolón crafts multi-coloured ice cream nu-cumbia and Chancha via Circuito sounds like he’s drifting down a foggy rainforest tributary, DDD twist nu-cumbia into a much darker place. The basses are crunching, heavy and tight while the melodies are haunted and black. Simiolo and Chacalom (two peas in a pod) are stand out dancefloor killers while Chichon (personal favourite) is a hands in the air, heavy hitting slice of digital villera. Como Bailar la Cumbia manages to weave Funky House rhythms into cumbia, layering it with a floating melody that makes it sound truly fresh.
The album is clearly leans more towards the digital side than to rootsy cumbia but this is not to its detriment – it is DDD’s sound. It is clear that La Alianza Profunda is an album conceived, tested and made for the TOMA! dancefloor. It is also bluddy good ammunition for any budding digital cumbia DJ from Buenos Aires to Stockholm.