Given the choice, I’m going to take music that makes a lot of noise and pisses off my neighbors every time. A serious problem with the audio glut of tunes that make their way to market every month (well over 5,000, knowledgeable people say) isn’t that they’re boring; it’s that they’re safe. They paint strictly within the lines of a BPM count and accepted levels of clutter and in the end it’s like taking an elixir of life and through homogenization, turning it into something like a 100% pasteurized glass of milk.
Panama Red, run by Antonio Caballero, does things a little different. I don’t know how these guys hooked up with Chicago’s own DJ Frique (or vice-versa) but together with Mexican DJ/producer Billy The Kid (a local DMC champ), they’ve turned out a serious sleeper hit from the promos I’ve received this month. Nobody has been talking about The Pajaro Loko EP and I can’t let that happen.
The original of “Cantin Flora” hearkens back to the sort of material you’d hear when there was only one area code for 312 – simple vocal samples, a quirky little melody and some beats that do a jackhammer on your spinal column. Frique knocks the table over with his remix and the pieces go spilling all over the place. It’s heavy on the jack with that cute little hook taken over by a fat bass and crackin’ drums. It’s just a giant vortex of beats and you’ll be lucky to reach the other end unscathed. A lot of things can go wrong when established DJs get a leg into the production racket but Frique is a natural, and this is just the kind of energy and creativity that the scene needs right now.
The title track hits a high note with Antonio Caballero’s superpowered remix – again, it’s loud and in your face and you can smack it with a newspaper all day but it’s going to refuse to be domesticated. Oddly, the two remixes here by Frique and Caballero seem to fit together better than the original mixes, but it’s hard to find anything amiss.
Available: Released in March 2011; available at Juno Download.