We’ve talked about this, right? Venezuela’s music scene is just barely such. Not to say as if there isn’t one at all, but that is in the same state as those Venezuelans that integrate it, greatly impoverished, with their hearts processing some nostalgia or rootlessness, migrating to new markets or countries.
Luckily, there’s still some artists out there. Without making a whole lot of noise, playing instruments or sets in cool underground collectives. Vfro comes to our attention just so, reinterpreting ‘raptor house’ and that sort of very local and very universal electronic music that’s been pouring through Latin America during this decade and good part of the previous one – somewhere in the middle of trap, grime, reggetón, baile funk, dancehall, whathaveyou.
Arnoldo Contreras, a guy from Puerto Cabello – who’s currently in Valencia – started out as a DJ and from there he went, making sets with the Subdata crew here and there. He does most of his producing in the box, circumventing the notorious hardship to buy any kind of musical toys in the patria with what would appear to be bread-and-butter-y Ableton Live, using samples of tambores (drums), salsa and the eventual electro clichés/internal jokes: the cowbells or kicks from the 808, chopped-up stuttering vocals, and some found-footage-y sample about spending horrible nights in an airport between flights.
The way things are over here – small town vibe, in a small but very warm scale – it didn’t take him a lot of time to contact with people of a certain trajectory, like Sunsplash, Drama Theme, Pocz, Pacheko and the list goes on. From his previous work with the late NTSFRSH (currently Flybvck, Diamantero and others harder to track) he found himself a little spot in Cocobass, a netlabel that has established itself as a place for collaboration between Latin American artists, especially from Mexico and Venezuela.
Collab and collage are the words which would seem most fitting to describe Vfro’s musical repertoire, who hasn’t missed any opportunity to contribute with his talents to the boiling pot of Latin America’s hippest music.
With an ear to the ground (and the internet’s telescopic mic) he developed an interest for baile funk and Caribbean bass, genres that we’ll find in his Mercurial EP. Before that, we’ll find him working in notable tracks with Deborah Blues and Alissa Maria, the latter with the support of Le Ronca Records, from Ciudad de Mexico. Just a couple of months ago he was featured in Cohoba and Acetoh’s Tormentas, hopefully a sign that he’ll keep to his prolific ways and develop further networks and allianges throughout the continent.
Even if electronic music is, many times, cornered into a lukewarm place when it comes to discussing of culture and politics, Vfro has fitted his works with some strategical statements that may not offer the most intense critique but hint us that his work is aimed at reflecting on some less evident subjects. We know that his sound palette is a celebration – or rescue – of everyday, traditional elements of Caribbean music, as we can hear in “Oye Vi”. On the audio-visual domain, his video for the track “YELA YELA YELA” – back in 2014 – was directed at the earnest recognition of sexuality in human beings, not without pulling jokes at the fact that we’re all obsessed with the matter, pouring evocative milk on some naked torso here and there, kissing and biting into lipstick-ping dough and juxtaposing male breasts on top of female ones.