Mex Machine (Mad Decent)
A YouTube video has been making the rounds showing a Latino clubber in Dallas, Texas, lacing up his pointedtoe cowboy boots with blue, glowing automotive lights and raving the night away to electro-cumbia beats like a “Mexican Tron,” his club-land nickname. The spirit of this young man — a mix of immigrant DIY bravado and club-floor futurism — animates this new compilation by Toy Selectah, in which cumbia and Mexican Duranguense are hot-wired to deep house and industrial music. Back in the 1990s, Selectah was known as Toy Hernández, one of three rappers who made up Control Machete, a raucous and raunchy hip-hop group that could well have been the Mexican counterpart of the Beastie Boys. Over the past decade, Selectah has reinvented himself as a touring DJ, helping to popularize this hybrid form of amped-up cumbia that’s taken root in clubs from Houston to Mexico City. “Ani Riddim” is a head-nodding mix of syncopated house and brass Latin horn samples while “La Ravertona” is a glitchy, 150 BPM stomper that pushes the cumbia rhythm into the far reaches of acid house. For newcomers to this music, I recommend “Sonidero Compay,” which takes the pan flutes of cumbia and splices them to a Caribbean reggaeton beat for a track that can make any boring drive home feel like a night out on the town.
— Casey Sanchez