Click Here For Video
When a thin version of a real-life Charlie Brown gets onstage to take over the knobs, keyboards and laptops, the video screen switches over to a spliced recording of a group of cowboy-fitted norteño musicians, squeezing an accordion, giving CPR to a tuba and tossing maracas. The balding, elfin DJ is Bostich, and when he starts teasing the hundreds of dancers with the familiar rollicking snares and farting tuba of his signature track, “Polaris,” everyone responds with a roar.
The snare drums and tuba are ubiquitous in Mexico’s northern style of oompah music, banda, while the accordion is the key instrument in norteño ballads. When post-modernist Tijuana music producers meshed this country music with electronica, they came up with norteño-techno, “nortec” for short. Three years ago, Tijuana’s Jai Alai Palace-a sports complex-turned-dance hall-became the official headquarters of the newly formed society of nortec artists, and the record release party for the music collective’s debut compilation, The Tijuana Sessions Vol. 1 on Palm Pictures: Though his pals in Fussible came up with the idea to mix old with new and producer Roberto Mendoza (alias Panoptica) came up with the “nortec” term, Bostich wrote the blueprint to the perfect beats ‘n’ brass nortec track.
“Frankly, I don’t think “Polaris” will ever repeat itself,” says Bostich, 40, who by day is the mild-mannered father of four and the dentist Ramon Amor Amezcua at his own successful practive. “I was into drum ‘n’ bass at the time, playing at raves, and now I’m interested in exploring slow rhythms, cumbia. I’m much calmer now. It must be the age.”The Change also has to do with being freed from the haters-especially in Mexico City-who looked down upon artists who use anything Latin or remotely Mexican. “In the ‘90’s, I was into making house, and now I’m doing cumbia. The more organic the music, the better.”
Originally inspired by German robo-pop godfathers Kraftwerk (and taking his name from a song by Swiss synth pop duo Yello), Bostich has been around since 1988, recording ambient electronica, releasing two CDs and appearing on various compilations. Now, as the “godfather of nortec,” Bostich, as well as the rest of the nortecos, is gearing up for an encore on Nortec Collective’s The Tijuana Sessions Vol. 2, with a clearer vision of one of electronic music’s most exciting new subgenres. Among his tracks are “Tijuana Bass” and “Autobanda,” a nod to his German influences. “We’re making the soundtrack to a Tijuana no one really knows about, and we’re taking it to the world.”
For The Tijuana Sessions Vol. 2, the Nortec Collective, completed by Hiperboreal and Clorofila, have fleshed out some of the ideas originally laid down on the first tracks. Two members, Terrestre and Plankton Man, amicably left the collective before touring for Vol. 1 to pursue other interests outside nortec, leaving more room for the remaining five to contribute more tracks. The new recordings are consistent in three areas: more vocal sampling, live instrumentation and juxtaposition of slow ambient tracks with full-on aggressive dance tracks.
Pepe Mogt and Jorge Ruiz, the duo known as Fussible (pronounced foo-See-blay), used to use discarded recordings of norteño and banda groups. Now, with some of the money they’ve earned from touring, the pair composes complete songs electronically, then hires actually bands to perform and record them at the low-budget Estudillo studio. The studio is located just five yards from the border and is where all the norteño and banda groups, including Los Tigres del Norte and<