The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Album Of The Week

Triplet Rhythms & Occultist Hardcore: Lila Tirando A Violeta's Limerencia Reviewed
Hannah Pezzack , August 27th, 2020 08:03

Veering towards abrasive discord, Lila Tirando a Violeta inflects electronic futurism with the folk rhythms of traditional Latin music.

Cyberpunk anime, pop anthems and the relentless stamina of hardcore have all informed the uncharacterisable sound of Lila Tirando a Violeta. Alongside a growing underground of leftfield musicians and compatriots of Mexico City-based label and collective NAAFI, Violeta is challenging the dominant hierarchy of imported house and techno. Otherwise known as a 'malinchismo', the mainstream preference for foreign Anglophone music has tended to sideline homegrown variants of electronica such as dancehall, reggaeton, dembow and bachata. Conducting osmosis with these localised genres, Violeta's latest album, Limerencia, stylises a highly unique sonic aesthetic.

The record was composed during isolation while Violeta recovered from still ongoing neurological medical treatment, a context that is surprising given its unrelenting momentum. Immediately plunging into a hard, broken beat opening track, 'Nuevo Paris Piano' is fuelled by sinister incarnations and fragmented vocal reframes that shatter over warbling reverb. Featuring experimental Toluca producer Abssys, the record's crux arrives with 'Noche Tótem', a blend of staccato, machine-gun fire and the rolling fervour of reggaeton. Similarly taken up by the likes of artists such as Amnesia Scanner, Toxe and Doon Kanda, the track's triplet rhythm fuses a groove to an otherwise mechanical onslaught of bleeps, whirls and shockwaves. It's a somatechnic breakdown that effortlessly shatters deadpan four-to-the-floor.

Violeta's condition required her to work in dim light, darkening her computer screen to low levels. Exasperated sighs and moans – stretched and rendered inhumanly synthetic – capture a deeply relatable experience of frustration: mid-pandemic, stuck at home, longing for an exodus to a club dancefloor. Violeta’s voice also appears at its most dexterous across Limerencia. Speaking in tongues on 'Maldoror', she spins minimal techno through a three-pronged beat, whilst 'Dry Season' collapses into a screaming occultist sacrifice. Midway into 'Nuevo Paris Piano', she emulates the tck-tck-tck-tck of a snare drum, taking on the distorted square wave of gabber.

The BPM is brought to a sudden near standstill on 'Interlude', a shimmering, chromatic break that slices the record in half. The birdsong and heartbeat would be unbearably tacky on any straight-faced ambient production, but Violeta's cool flamboyance allows it to work. As part of the queer power-duo A.M.I.G.A with Hiela Pierrez, she sculpts epically over-the-top trance that delivers a performance of superficiality. The same tongue-in-cheek approach comes out in Limerencia, where orgasmic noises and cataclysmic drops both satirise and play into campy techno and sexualised pop.

Traffic and sirens fade in and out of 'Lagrima Viva', a tribute to the poem of the name by Argentine writer Oliverio Girondo. "Llorar el sueño. Llorar ante las puertas y los puertos. Llorarlo todo, pero llorarlo bien." ("Cry the dream. Cry at the gates and ports. Cry it all, but cry it well.") The spoken-sung verse is accompanied by a Gregorian chant, while the track also partners with 'Maldoror' which similarly draws from the Latin literary canon, nodding to the Uruguayan-French surrealist Lucien Ducasse's Les Chants de Maldoror. The novel is centred on an evil protagonist who has renounced conventional morality to have sex with animals and cast spells. Its themes of sexual potency, occultism and decadence resonate with the track itself – 'Maldoror' moves with a sinister fluidity, the eerie vocals executing a dread-drenched build.

Following in the vein of her 2019 album Sentient, almost all of the eight-tracks of Limerencia were executed collaboratively, with input from NAAFI's Nick León, Cork-based Lighght, the cryptic producer El Plvybxy from Buenos Aires, and anonymous New York-based artist PRJCTN. This collective of featured artists goes some way to explaining the eclectic nature of the album that refuses to crystallise into a single, recognisable genre.

Unlike previous productions, however, Limerencia has a much airier feel. Sentient was grounded in cybernetics, embodying alien robotics and ghostly digital entities. Limerencia though is a more hybrid and meditative project. Organic field recordings, such as water flowing from La Plata River and half-audible conversations, are manipulated with textured sound design and xenomorphic processing. This concept is emulated in the album artwork that features grass and flowers, coated in Cronenberg jelly.

While Violeta claimed that she set out to make a record that uses the "sedative properties just as the melodies of a musical box," it's hard to characterise Limerencia as coming off as soothing as this statement implies. That being said, it does suggest a warmer, more ambient direction – a testament to her flexibility as one of the most interesting up-and-coming-producers around.