Breathe… Godpseed


Medellín's Verraco makes his debut on the forward-thinking UK label Timedance, showcasing a vision of high-tech techno with a devastating impact

The sound design-heavy, deconstructed club music of the mid-2010s, bar SOPHIE and a few other less self-serious artists, gravitated towards a sense of alienation, dissociation and coldness. It often felt like a calculated attempt to emulate modern art, and there were real structural reasons for this. Apart from poptimism and uptempo selections, the post-pandemic vibe shift brought about already tapped, but not yet fully developed trajectories in dance music where impeccable sound design is not merely a trigger to turn on the chin-strokers in the audience. Producers started to approach it in a more functionalist way.

Artists such as Piezo and Simo Cell, whose music is rather “technical”, talk about playfulness and evoking emotions. Colombian DJ, producer and curator Verraco has also been exploring these sensibilities in his own instantly recognisable way. A true innovator in contemporary electronic music, he has been releasing brain-melting music, putting artists on the map and countering the Western-centeredness of the global dance music scene from at least 2017 – way before the breakthrough of his label TraTraTrax and the release of his VOAM debut.

Breathe… Godpseed, which manifests a familiarly radiant and sharp vision of contemporary dance music typical of Timedance, the label releasing the EP, sounds like the product of a painstakingly long process, but it does not feel overcooked or overburdened with ideas. What inspires me about Verraco is how he uses sound design tricks explored on earlier releases and meticulously explores them in detail. The signature polished squeaks, high-pitched beeps and blips, Shepard tones and cyborgian vocals are all there, but they are levelled-up, more powerful and multidimensional.

‘0∞’, his peak-time banger for summer 2024, comes across like a surgically enhanced ‘Escándaloo‘, showcasing his skills in arrangement, with start/pause moments and monstrous bass modulations that will shock the floor. ‘Godspeed >’ is a tension-building, mid-paced floor filler that revolves around the piercing, time-streched vocal chop from Tambourines’ ‘Helly Daddy‘. Running at 85-BPM, the low-slung, wonky, devilishly psychedelic ‘Climaxing | Breath’ seems like it has been made for DJ CCL’s “Horny, Dark and Hard” playlist. Closer ‘Sí, Idealízame’, meanwhile, with its gorgeously bittersweet melody, qualifies for one of the best wee hours-ready tunes in recent memory – designed to squeeze the last bits of energy from the serotonin and dopamine tanks.

Verraco creates stylistically eclectic maximalist techno with strong ties to the Latin American musical vocabulary, and conjures powerfully resonant atmospheres and hyperspecific vibes. A large chunk of contemporary dance music is either packed with hackneyed tropes or is simply too ‘out there’ to have an impact on dancing bodies. Striking the balance between these two extremes requires special skills. On Breathe… Godpseed, Verraco finds the sweet spot between the sophisticated and the accessible, providing instant sensorial and spiritual gratification.

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