Just in time for Halloween / El Día de Los Muertos 2023 comes the scary good 45 from El Bigtoe y El Guámbito: Sabroso Y Espooky: El Encuentro Vol. 2, “Sabroso y Espooky” b/w “Mantequilla y Mermelada,” from Peace & Rhythm. The A side is a dark “sonidero cumbia rebajada” (a slowed-down cumbia done in the Mexican sound system DJ style), full of menace and spooky subterranean sounds, while the flip is a much brighter uptempo psychedelic tropical number that feels like a galloping horse ride clear across the Texas desert into Mexico.
El Bigtoe y El Guámbito is a unique partnership a long time in the making, fresh as today, forward-looking to tomorrow, but rooted in yesterday. As the dynamic duo describes it, their project, titled “El Encuentro” (The Encounter), is “a culmination of antipodal hemispheric daydreams cast into the dark sky and coalesced in a dimly lit Central Texas studio anchored by the whirling hum of an AC window unit.” A blend of analog and traditional instrumentation with electronic implements from guitars to synths to samplers, the project is an exploration of tropical music from Colombia, engaging with but also moving into deeper palates than the ubiquitous cumbia. What emerged was an evolution of both of their sonic histories, music made with freedom and abandon, combining and reinterpreting solid influences and flighty whims alike.
Originally conceived as a four song EP, the collaboration by El Bigtoe (Beto Martínez - Grupo Fantasma, Brownout, Money Chicha, The Los Sundowns) and El Guámbito (Victor-Andrés Cruz - Nemegata, Bulla En El Barrio, MAKU Soundsystem) was initiated in late 2019 just before the world stood still and entered pandemic times. The pair began a weekly meeting at Martínez’s fabled Lechehouse Music Studio as an exercise in songwriting and production experiments. They had previously worked together when Martínez recorded Nemegata’s critically acclaimed Hycha Wy LP in 2019. After things started up again, the first two songs were released on a 7” 45RPM single as El Encuentro, Vol. 1 by Chicago’s Sonorama Discos. Following soon after, Peace & Rhythm realized it would be perfect to fast-track the other two cuts from the project, released as Sabroso Y Espooky: El Encuentro Vol. 2, in order to have them available for folks during the scariest time of year. Qué cumbia tan espooky, indeed!
Available in vinyl and digital formats.
If you like psychedelic cumbia, cumbia rebajada, groups like Chicha Libre, Money Chicha, Xixa and Viento Callejero, you’ll dig El Bigtoe y El Guámbito.