Ale Hop & Laura Robles
Agua Dulce
Buh Records
Edition of 300 copies
Incl. VAT plus shipping / Orders from outside the EU are exempt from VAT
1La Procesion
2The Life Of Insects
4The Way To The Ocean
5Someday We'll Dance Again
6The Pearl Driver
7Jungle Depredation

The Berlin-based Peruvian musicians Alejandra Cárdenas, aka Ale Hop, and Laura Robles present their debut album together, released via Buh records. With a foundation informed by decolonialism and organology, »Agua Dulce« is a radical deconstruction of traditional rhythms of the Peruvian coast, in which the cajón instrument plays a central role.

»Agua Dulce« is named after the most popular beach in Lima, near where both artists lived during their childhood, houses apart, without ever meeting one another. Now, years later, the pair have joined forces, with Robles on a self-built electric cajón and Cárdenas on electric guitar and electronics. Together they explore rhythmical structures that form the backbone of the complex Afro-Peruvian music and dance traditions – a broad term used for the various musical developments that occurred in the last two centuries, at the shores of the Peruvian Pacific.

The cajón originated in coastal Peru as a percussion instrument that the black slaves created from wooden fruit boxes, when foot drums were banned at the end of the Spanish colonial-era, in the 19th century.

From its birth the cajón was a symbol of resistance, experimentation and transformation, so Robles and Cárdenas strive to maintain the instrument’s spirit and qualities by pushing the boundaries of its sound into the future. However, although buzzing with an intense voltage and proffering a fresh contribution to modern experimental/noise/low fi/percussive music, the duo’s mission isn’t merely capturing something sonically futuristic, but is primarily concerned with shaking off the dust: “These rhythms have become ossified nowadays, heard in Peruvian folklore shows, and on the ‘global music’ circuit, but our desire is to experiment and do something more radical with them, connecting to the instruments more radical past”, comments Cárdenas.

The two musicians take the pulses of dances like Landó, Zamacueca, Festejo, Alcatraz, Lamento and Son de los diablos, electrifying and mutating them into pure textures, or reinforcing the physical character of the cajón through repetition and distortion.

The LP began with recorded improvisations between the duo at Ale Hop’s studio, which she then edited, adding synths and more guitar. Following that it was performed live for the Heroines Of Sound festival, accompanied by the dancer/choreographer Liza Alpiźar Aguilar, which was described as »nothing short of amazing« by The Wire. Following the show Cárdenas added further edits and post production, resulting in the finished article.