The U.S.-Mexico border is a zone of possibility, chaos, and commerce. Cars idle waiting to cross, dreams are hatched, and knickknacks are sold. Amid the smog and ceramic Virgin of Guadalupe statues for sale is a soundtrack that mixes elements from north and south of the border. Brassy Mexican pop and folk corridos blend with American and Euro electronic dance music to form a new hybrid, one that Tijuana's Nortec Collective
has refined and promoted for the past decade. Nortec (the name refers to the combination of northern Mexican norteño music and techno) formed in 2001 and includes four artists who work together in various configurations. Collective members Ramon "Bostich" Amezcua and Pepe "Fussible" Mogt perform live on laptops accompanied by a full horn section, ranchera guitarists, and, naturally, a fabulous accordion player. It's a playful mix that inspires partner dancing and heavy drinking, and earned Bostich + Fussible
's 2008 album, Tijuana Sound Machine
, a Grammy nod. New recording, Bulevar 2000
, drops next month and features Bay Area singer Kylee Swenson from electropop band Loquat on the epic disco number "I Count the Ways." Other songs recall artists as varied as French dance heroes Daft Punk and extravagant Britpop band Blur and even radio-friendly groups like Black Eyed Peas, all with a sublime Mexican musical twist. Like the border, the album produces some head-scratching moments, followed by the thought, "Aw, hell, it's a party!"
Click here for a free download of the track "I Count the Ways" featuring Loquat's Kylee Swenson.
Sat., Aug. 28, 9 p.m., 2010