R. Mendoza: Si Me Duermo...Choco
Static Discos

Accompanying info to Si Me Duermo… Choco ( If I Fall Asleep…I Crash ) indicates that in the forty-two-minute release Roberto Mendoza (aka Panóptica and Norton Collective member) explores the post-punk sounds that influenced him in his youth (e.g., This Mortal Coil) as well as kosmische musik, dub, and downtempo minimal techno. It's not an entirely misleading characterization though post-punk is hardly as prominent as the info intimates (even if David J of Love and Rockets and Bauhaus fame does contribute his bass playing and arranging talents to “Luz Divina,” a curious collision of lulling ambient flow and electric guitar roar). In fact, the album's after-hours vibe would be better described as a blend of ambient, minimal techno, and shoegaze, with the residue of dance elements subtly present within Mendoza's electronic lullabies.

The first two cuts are the equivalent of someone slowly awakening—“Arcano” establishing the dream-like mood with lulling acoustic guitar strums wedded to blurry electronics, and “Una Historia Corta” following it in plodding manner—with the third, “Corazón,” presenting a more memorable, trance-inducing arrangement of atmospheric electronics, chiming electric guitars, and silken vocal punctuations. “Si Me Miras” then merges multi-layered acoustic strums with a pounding techno pulse and subtly funky bass line, after which the tracks generally grow noisier, with guitar a more dominant element (e.g., “Perla Invernal,” where feedback-drenched guitar wails amidst a thumping techno pulse and silken synth drapery). The sunniest track, “Hoy Será Un Gran Día,” is also the most infectious, as its breezy gallop, murmured vocal hook, and vibrant electronic melodies add up to a seductive whole. The brooding Spanish guitar-tinged tech-house of “Chito” (by Jorge Verdin and Mendoza with addition production by Flavius E.) also stands out. Sleepily returning from whence it came, “Se Hace Tarde” closes the album with a willowy, low-level dreamscape of electronics and acoustic guitar. Throughout this rather distinctive album, Mendoza assembles layer upon layer in the tracks, with vocals, beats, electronics, guitars, and bass built into immense atmospheric structures that exemplify the loop-based repetition associated with dance music.

February 2009