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Music

Sound Drops: beats from Nicola Cruz’s rituals

18.03.2019

The call from his roots came and he got the message. Born and raised in Limoge, it was the ancient mythologies and folklorists traditions from Ecuador that triggered a musical vocation which he later transformed into legit art: Nicola Cruz’s electronic sets catch you with their tribal beats as well as the rhythms and the instruments of unknown practices.

 

The clue is in the surname. Cruz is the first tangible sign of what to expect to hear in his playlist: he was in fact born by Ecuadorian parents. Nicola Cruz’s cultural heritage dives into the multitude sides of a country that is home to the Andes mountains as well as the Amazon jungle: he is able to transform ancient mythologies into contemporary sounds, whilst exploring Afro-cosmologies.

Analog sound, a work of craftsmanship, one Nicola describes in these words:

I like the idea that even if I work with machines you still know there’s a human behind it, making it

 

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His debut album was released on ZZK Records in 2015: titled Prender el Alma, it is a self-produced and self-recorded work, in which Cruz showcases his mastery at layering the different instruments –all of which rigorously selected from a blend of modern technology with indigenous cosmologies.

It’s a ‘digital folklor’ revolution, the one Ecuador is witnessing, led by the hands and the sensitivity of musicians such as Nicola Cruz, who is motivated by the mission of staying true to his roots, as he stated:

I feel a certain responsibility to show something from your country.

Siku is Nicola’s Cruz most recent production, in which Nicola continues to explore the rituals close to South American culture. He also pinches inputs globally, collaborating with other artists around the world in transmitting this newly found spirituality through music.

 

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The clue is yet again in the name. The word siku isn’t the product of some brainstorming session held amongst creative heads from Ecuador. Siku is real, a wind instrument from Andes, recurring in ancestral rituals. Its design reflects the dual connotation Cruz associated his track with: the arca and the ira of the siku become the harmonic contrast of electronic vs organic, present vs past, reality vs artificiality.

The sound is just to lose yourself in, a mystical journey, one of the many to hop on with Nicola Cruz.

The record was made on the road, taking in everything  the different cities, souls and scenarios would serve him as primal inputs. From experimenting first-hand with new instruments to incorporating influences from other more or less local genres: samba rhythms, African balafon are just some of them, all working together in a dual dynamic, rather than a fusion.

Siete, the first single off the new album, dropped October 23rd.  

Arka, the second single, dropped November 27th and was composed jointly with musician and connational Esteban Valdivia: the track was recorded in the caves of the Ilaló volcano in August 2018.


Interpreting under altered states of consciousness (or seeking them through execution) serves to create a link between the earthly and the transcendental, delivering the body as a medium and service for music.

 

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Right now Nicola Cruz is touring worldwide and we have his Milan’s date in the calendar, see you on Feb 21st at Magazzini Generali.

photo by Saul Endara