Skip to main content

Fuego Nuevo EP by Nicola Cruz

Optimo Music proudly welcomes Ecuador’s Nicola Cruz to the family. For those who know he needs no introduction and if you don’t know his music, why not?

Nicola Cruz is an Ecuador musician. His creative process involves an attentive, careful search for the living roots and rituals that are part of South American identity—its Andean and African origins in particular — valuing its rhythms, oral traditions, instruments and the energy they transmit. “Fuego Nuevo” explores rhythmic forms, inspired in Afro-Cuban percussion, cavernous acoustics and distortion. A dialogue created mainly with a 606 machine as a drum base, following different combinations of ‘claves’ as a tool for temporal organization in these tracks. Percussion has always been my main voice, so I try to rediscover it every time by submitting myself to different rituals when composing music, like warming up musical ideas as mantras for a while before I take any decision of recording. In a way, the drums have always represented fire for me, which was the script to follow for this EP.

He is also very eloquent so we will let him do the talking here.

Levanta Muertos:
I’ve been testing this one for almost a year now. I love exploring with different instruments, in this case the Didgeridoo (which does the bass) that is so rich harmonically, and the ‘Pingullo’, a classic two hole flute from the amazon, recorded by Julio Vicencio, eternal collaborator and mate. It is so interesting combining this two side: synthetic modular textures with organic harmonics from these woodwind instruments.

For this EP in particular, I’ve decided to undust my 606, and part from there. Rhythm has always been my voice, so sketching ideas through patterns of this drum machine was something that somehow lead this EP. It’s also a challenge to traduce such a ‘square’ machine in terms of rhythm cadence, to groove in a afro-latin way. Ripple has that raw energy of some very pre-historic dance.

Not often I keep the same melody throughout the song, but sometimes certain songs ask for that, as is the case of Yeva. I knitted around the melody, trying to keep it mellow but powerful.

Limon Pelado:
This one is all rhythm. I tried to play with claves, which is a very important aspect of afro-latin music. It basically defines accents and somehow weights the song in one direction. In a way all these pieces are one (of the many) envisions of afro-latin electronic futurism.
released March 27, 2020

artwork by Margherita Huntley.