A quiet strength lies beneath the placid surface of new single “Resiliencia” from producers El Búho and DJ Raff, both pioneers of global folk-inspired electronica. It’s a piece based on subtleties. Soft synth notes crescendo, birthing processed vocals and gentle beats so that the ambient builds slowly into a more mobile structure, a dance of tranquil melody and resolute drums, all marching forward together.
Organic as it seems, of course, there are deliberate meaning and method to the way “Resiliencia” unfolds. “The track was finished around the times of the huge social movement in Chile,” says Robin Perkins, the man behind the El Búho moniker, “hence the name ‘Resiliencia’ as a nod to that movement, something that was very close to Raff’s heart as a Chilean artist living abroad.”
DJ Raff’s work, of course, has been foundational in Chilean hip-hop since the ’90s, when Rafael Pérez first started putting together loops and beats with other young artists growing up in what was another politically turbulent time for the nation. Since then, as DJ Raff, he has circled the globe. So has Perkins, whose music career took shape more recently in Mexico and has landed him for the time being in Paris. Kindred spirits in many ways, the two came together for “Resiliencia” in ways that would not have been possible until recent times. The track was, Perkins notes, “made completely over email, starting with some cut-up vocals and sending versions back and forth.”
In sharing a virtual workspace, the two made unquestionably real creative connections. “Raff has been a huge inspiration of mine for many years as one of the early artists mixing Latin American traditional music with electronica,” says Perkins. “It was an honor to work with him.”
“Resiliencia” comes out ahead of Ramas, a new album from El Búho set to come out later this month on Wonderwheel Recordings. On it, he works with collaborators from around the world, exploring the roots of numerous musical styles as they intertwine into the album’s titular branches. This metaphor fits with Perkins’ ecological leanings as he weaves birdsong and ambient environmental sounds into his work, constantly aware of the vital inseparability of human culture and nature. The atmospheric presentation of the spirit of resistance in “Resiliencia” is a brilliant iteration of El Búho’s creative philosophies.
Ramas is out via Wonderwheel on 27 March.