Compass in the studio

Compass: Navigating the Global Dancefloor

MIS + Toy Selectah Present: Compass

Antionio Hernández and Camilo Lara could be described as the modern-day dons of Latin music. The two producers better known as Toy Selectah and Mexican Institute of Sound have helped shape, globalise and drive the evolution of modern Latin American music. From the advent of digital Cumbia to subtly infusing modern-day Pop with Latin roots and sounds, the influence of these two can be felt on dancefloors and charts all over the world. Under the name Compass, the two have now combined forces on a project celebrating and championing global sound. It is in their words, the duo’s “PhD thesis on global music production”.

Lara, Maluca, Gael Garcia Bernal & Toy recording Compass

The name Compass comes from the Mexican compas or compadres meaning buddies but is also a metaphor for the project’s navigation around the world of modern music production. The album to be released in 2015 features an astounding 80 collaborators, from four continents, endless genres, styles and sounds.


Alongside some recognisable names in the Latin electronic music scene like Bonde Do Role, DJ Dusty, Eric Bobo (Cypress Hill) and Helado Negro, the project also features a few surprises including Boy George, Toots & the Maytals, Sly & Robbie and Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera. As Lara says: “It’s a global album, but it all has a distinctive Mexican flavour.”

The album will be released next year but watch out for a series of five videos detailing the project recording process and more via Red Bull. Red Bull, which supported the recording of the album, also last week released a preview of one of the tracks, La Llama.


This cut is held together by a trademark MIS sample fuelled beat fused with the global influences of Notch (formerly of Born Jamericans), New York’s Matty Rico and Ohmega Watts, ghetto-techno empress Maluca, legendary Cali dj Kut Masta Kurt and Beastie Boys collaborator Money Mark. Check out an interview with the two dons here for more information.

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Animated Cumbia

Splashes of colour, indigenous patterns, forests, rivers and sunshine, two traditional dancers dressed in white and red – the video for JWCM’s Cumbia de Piedra is a beautiful audio-visual impression of the producer’s native Colombia.

Directed by Tomás Pichardo, a fellow student of Jhon Williams Montoya Castro (JWCM) at the Italian communications research centre Fabrica in Treviso, the video is inspired by rural Colombian life from indigenous traditions to those of today’s campesinos. Reminiscent of a Miró painting, mixing anmation, stop motion, rotoscoping and digital painting, it gives a vision of the country from afar, the perfect backdrop to JWCM’s music, marrying the rhythms of his native homeland with his own classical violin playing and electronica.


However, this is not the first incarnation of Cumbia de Piedra. The track featured as the centrepiece from JWCM’s part art exhibition, part concept album Mohs, focussed on the idea of creating sounds from stone. Uniting diverse inspirations from folkloric rhythms and live sampling to the mineral classification studies of German scientist Frederich Mohs, the album is part digital cumbia, part classical violin and part experimental. It even features a bespoke instrument called the ‘stone pad’ made from stones.

New sounds are in the pipeline from JWCM so watch this space!


Rhythm and Roots – Volume 21

The leaves are turning orange and the cold is setting in in Amsterdam so time for our first autumnal episode of Rhythm and Roots. There is so much great music coming out at the moment that this was a tough one to pull together. A refined selection of music old and new (or sometimes new meets old) from Argentina, Italy, Brazil, Indonesia, Portugal, Ecuador and beyond!

Featured Artist – Populous

Our featured artist for this episode is Populous, otherwise known as Italian producer Andrea Mangia who recently released his first album in six years – Night Safari via Bad Panda Records. His new found sound flitters between old and new influences, marrying worldly samples and rhythms with tight, full electronic productions and featuring an equally eclectic guestlist from fellow Italian tropicalista Clap Clap! to Japanese dream-pop singer Cuushe. Night Safari is scattered with birds, cicadas, deep 808 kick drums, sweet vocals, sweeping synths and scratchy samples: a globetrotting journey from the Himalayas to Brighton Pier.




1) Ulises Conti – D
2) Roquefeller – vuelo
3) Mura Mansa – Miss You
4) Chancha Via Circuito – Sueños en Paraguay
5) Helado Negro – Myself On 2 U
6) Populous – Honey (Feat. Iokol)
7) Zikomo – Champion Riddim
8) Desmond Dekker – Beautiful and Dangerous
9) Thomash – Calango Fumando Palha
10) Nicola Cruz – Cumbia del Olvido
11) Populous – Fall (Feat. Cuushe)
12) Colo – Ghana 95
13) Captain Planet – Cicada
14) Populous – Dead Sea
15) Sono Rhizmo – O Telefone
16) Sidirum – Akasha (Nicola Cruz Remix)
17) Rocky Marciano – Selva Rainha
18) Thomash – Field Recordings in Minas Gerais
19) Grupo Bahia – Recordando (Andrés Digital Remix)
20) Rocky Marciano – Dançante
21) Midnight Runners – Disko Cha Cha Cha
22) Batida – Pobre e Rico
23) Castro – The Vibration is International
24) Von Party – Pygmy Funk
25) Booddha – I Wonder Why
26) AbJo – Kalimba Song


South America to the world

Over the past ten years the international music media has sporadically raved about the latest bubbling scene from the ‘hip’ city of the moment, be it Montevideo, Bogota or Buenos Aires. These days when we talk about modern, underground Latin American music it’s not about disparate pockets or unconnected scenes but a thriving, diverse, border crossing movement of cross-pollination and global interaction. How we view traditional Latin American music has been turned on its head and these developments are having reverberations across the world.

In the mid 2000s now household names in the scene like Frikstailers, Chancha via Circuito and Matanza, helped by platforms like ZZK Records, began to make noises for their fresh take on the continent’s traditional rhythms and music. However, they demonstrated there was something beyond the nucumbia or ethno-techno tags they had been assigned, laying the foundations for a new generation of beatmakers constructing and deconstructing a ‘New Latin American Sound’.

You could call Chancha Via Circuito one of this movement’s godfathers. In fact the quietly spoken Argentine shaman directly bequeathed his own sound and productions techniques to the new generation through his now famous production tallers (classes) in his home city of Buenos Aires. Three years on from his last album Rio Arriba, Chancha this week released his latest work Amansara and in doing so demonstrated how the sound of him and his contemporaries has revolutionised modern Latin American folk music.

Simultaneously organic and electronic, local and global Amansara is his most accomplished album yet. An album that carves out and refines his beautiful interpretation of folk music in a modern, international context. On the heels of fellow Argentine folk-tronic trio Tremor, Amansara is released on Wonderwheel, the New York based imprint run by Nickodemus.

This very Latin American sound, deeply grounded in the continent’s sounds, landscapes, mythology and cultures has made waves across the world and in turn impacted a new generation of producers in South America and beyond. A nod to the scene and testament to the family that has grown up around it, Amansara includes a beautiful ‘apprentice and teacher’ moment on the track Sabiamantis which features Barrio Lindo and Sidirum, two young producers who both attended one of Chancha’s classes.

The legacy of this ‘ZZK’ generation is clear to see in the sound of producers like Sidirum, taking inspiration from the scene’s instigators whilst adding their own influences and driving in new directions. Yesterday the Chilean based net imprint Sello Regional released their 20th EP, a collection of global remixes of Sidirum’s fantastic Le Soleil EP showcasing this next generation of like-minded producers from Latin American, Europe, the US and beyond. With guests like Haarlem’s (the Dutch one…) Umoja, Ecuador’s Nicola Cruz and Hamburg’s bombombum this is an international affair and another hint at how the scene has expanded to influence young bedroom producers across the world. The description to Le Soleil remixes sums things up nicely:

‘Generar unión por medio de la música y mostrar la visión que pueden entregar diferentes artistas de un mismo objeto. Así es como queda una obra colectiva, libre y con mucho amor por la música.’

‘Generating union through the medium of music and showing the different interpretations that artists can create from the same object. In this sense this is a work that is free collective and filled with a love for music.’


Rhythm and Roots Radio – Volume 20

Rhythm and Roots has just turned 20! Don’t worry if you forgot to send a card or write on our Facebook wall, there is always next time ;) So, we are not actually 20 years old but 20 shows old! To celebrate we have a smorgasbord of great new music for you to share this special moment with us. This one is like a musical cake made of different slices of tasty melodic sponge and harmonic jam, the perfect soundtrack to a game of pass the parcel or a big bag of birthday surprises from all over the world!

On behalf of Rhythm and Roots – thanks for listening and raise a glass with us for good health and another 20 Rhythm and Roots!

Creamsicle BD

You can find the full tracklist after the break and download here. If you really want to send us a birthday message we wouldn’t mind or even ideas for your next present (Ok, this metaphor is getting a bit long…) We’d love to hear from you so, email us your favourite tracks, Tweet us your ideas, get in touch if you’d love to collaborate and keep on listening!

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Frente Cumbiero // El Paujil

As we reach the last few hours on Kickstarter, I’m happy to reveal our last artist (for now😉 )…Frente Cumbiero! The Colombian group will be creating a song by the wonderfully bizarre El Paujil or Blue Billed Curasow! This unique species found in the North of Colombia is recognised as Critically Endangered by the IUCN.

The Bird – El Paujil

The Artist – Frente Cumbiero

Frente Cumbiero‘s music is a journey through the darkest depths of cumbia, their mision – to take this entrancing Colombian genre and dance to the world! The band simultaneously celebrate the roots of the genre alongside pushing and embracing the new, no less than on their groundbreaking album with legendary Dub producer Mad Professor. Lead man Mario Galeano was also heavily involved in the globe trotting Cumbia all-stars group Ondatropica. Their own sound has a raw talent to it, succeeding where many fail in walking the line between the old and the new!

The Inspiration

“El canto del Paujil es poco melódico, pareciera más un rugido bajo y rasposo… no tiene una melodía musical… entonces hay dos opciones, o tomar mejor el contexto musical de la región de donde viene o intentar replicar ese rugido desde unos bajos sintetizados… veremos a qué camino nos lleva su inspiración. “
“The song of the Curassow is not very melodious, it is more like a roaring bass…it doesn’t have a musical melody. So, we have two options either we take inspiration from the music of the region that this bird comes from or we try to replicate this booming sound with some synthesied basses. We will see down which path the inspiration takes us! “
Frente Cumbiero



Dengue Dengue Dengue // La Remolinera Real

NEWSFLASH: First things first…we made it! 100% funded on Kickstarter!

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Just a few days ago’A Guide to the Birdsong of South America’ passed the 100% mark on Kickstater thanks to some fantastic support from all over the world. We still have four days left to go so please back us if you can – the more money we can make the more we can give to Aves y Conservación!

We still have a flock of exciting new artists to reveal and are going to announce them one a day, until the end, starting today. So, drumroll please to welcome our first Peruvian group for the album – Dengue Dengue Dengue! The masked new-cumbia duo have chosen the unassumingly beautiful and critically endangered Remolinera Real or Royal Cinclodes (Cinclodes aricomae), found only in Peru and numbering between 50 and 250. Below the bird that will inspire them to make the track and some background on los Dengues!

The Bird – La Remolinera Real

The Artist – Dengue Dengue Dengue

Dengue Dengue Dengue are a duo hailing from Lima, Peru who have made a splash on the world of tropical bass for their bombastic live shows, bass crunching productions and refreshing reinterpretations of classic cumbia, chicha and Latin American sounds.

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