The style of electro-cumbia that Argentinian producer Pedro Canale creates under the moniker Chancha Via Circuito has always existed on the outer edges of the sub-genre. Avoiding the hard-edged, bass-heavy drive that defined much of the ZZK Records cohort in which his career began, Chancha Via Circuito tends to occupy a sparser, quieter space. While clearly under the rhythmic influence of cumbia, it contains little or none of cumbia’s traditional party-centric atmosphere. Instead, the rhythm is emptied out, stripped to the point of near austerity.
Amansara, the latest Chancha Via Circuito album, out on the BK label’s Wonderwheel Recordings, takes these tendencies to their logical extreme. With exception of the few tracks featuring either vocals (“Jardines” and “Copilita”) or dubstep-style sub-bass (“Sabiamantis”), the album leaves even the hint of dance music behind. Shaping rippling layers of harps, bird calls and animal sounds into a soothing sonic grid, Amansara approaches ambient music, in the original, Brian Eno sense of the word. The tracks are far from songs–instead they stand almost as audible sculpture, gently winding their forms past your ears. Whether or not you want your cumbia to float around you is a matter personal taste, but for what it is, this is a pleasant, sometimes beautiful recording. Bliss out, kids.