Electronic music affords artistic expressions at a unique intersection between music, an art form that transcends its own temporal foundations, and technology, the advancements through which humankind asserts its intellectual capabilities and marks its place in history. Even in its relatively nascent stages, electronic music is a format, or perhaps an approach, that reflects the social, political, and cultural environments of global music communities through the unique relationships between artists and machines.
My project involves the creation of Discobres, a digital publication and record label exploring the history of electronic music in Chile, and in a larger sense, the whole influence of Latin American music on electronic music worldwide. While the proliferation of mainstream styles and a focus on the scenes in the United States and Europe dominates the current discourse on electronic music, some of the most historically influential and currently relevant artists hail from a part of the globe often omitted from the conversation. Through features, interviews, and podcasts, Discobres will hopefully be a platform for Latin American electronic musicians to tell their own stories and represent the unique regions and cultures from where they come.
Discobres, imminently launching.
About a month ago, my journey began in the late Santiago summer. My first days were spent acclimating to the polar opposite weather, exploring the chaotic Metros and charming markets, and fueling metropolitan walking tours on empanadas and fruit juice. But I’d hardly set my bags down in the capital city before I was en route to the enchanting Valparaíso, a colorful city tucked away on the Pacific coast of Chile. In Valpo, as it’s colloquially called, I had the pleasure of joining the last few dates of the Patagonica Tour, a series of electronic music events promoting sustainability throughout Chile.
I met with Emilie McGlone, the founder, organizer, and day-to-day manager of the Patagonica Tour, who introduced me to the guest artist of the series, electronic music producer and musician Pier Bucci. Bucci grew up in Santiago, Chile, before his global travels and music career eventually brought him to Berlin, Germany where he currently resides. Over the last decade or more, Bucci has developed a unique sound inspired by his worldly perspective, and is known as one of the most influential and prolific Chilean artists in the electronic music community. Since the early 2000s, Bucci, along with friends and collaborators including, but hardly limited to, Martin Schopf (Dandy Jack), Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano, Uwe Schmidt (Atom Heart), and his own brother Andrés, has helped to define a sound that represents a truly transnational culture.
Pier Bucci performing at ChileUnderSystem in February. Concón, Chile.
I accompanied Bucci and the Patagonica team for performances on three consecutive nights in various venues—a mobile party on a farm in the mountains of Concón, a rooftop in Valparaíso overlooking the port, and an energetic nightclub in Santiago’s Barrio Bellavista. Despite the grueling schedule, Bucci graciously took some time out to answer a few of my questions about Chile’s musical identity, the perception of Latin America in the rest of the world, and the traditional roots of dance music.
Pier Bucci performing at Antüset. Valparaíso, Chile.
The sun sets over the port in Valparaíso.
I’ll save the rest of the story for publishing on the imminently launching Discobres.com, but one particular thought stood out when I asked Bucci about the parallels between traditional Latin American music and modern dance music. He replied, “Parallels? No, I think traditional music is the basis of electronic music. In electronic music, the machines start to imitate or emulate the different [traditional] sounds. That’s why the [Roland] 808 has a conga sound!” I thought I’d share a mix of Pier’s music to help round out his perspective:
Many more thoughts to come, but in the meantime, follow @discobres on Twitter, Instagram, and visit facebook.com/discobres for regular updates. And of course, thanks for reading.