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Various Artists
Electros & Latinos
Fonomusic, Spain (

On a trip to Spain, I ended up spending an evening at the Suristán, a nightclub in the heart of Madrid that has become the epicenter of the city's world music scene. The house DJ was a stout, mustachioed chap who looked more like someone who should be hanging out at a local taxi driver's bar, smoking butts and drinking cheap beer. Turns out he was DJ Floro, a cutting-edge world music expert who had his finger pressed firmly on the pulse of the international music scene. We discussed our mutual passion for some time, namely new trends in Latin-influenced electronica, trip-hop, and chill out, and Floro, AKA Florencio Cuadrado, had clearly discovered some hidden gems.

Recently, Floro sent me a new compilation he worked on for the Spanish label Fonomusic, which is as good a set of Latin electronica as I've seen anywhere. The 15 tracks on Electros & Latinos touch a number of different bases and feature largely lesser-known artists in Latin and electronic dance music from Europe and Latin America. Unlike many of the compilations that claim to feature electronica with a Latin vibe, Electros & Latinos is not overloaded with the bossa nova inspired, smooth-jazz numbers that are so popular in Europe and Japan at the moment. Instead it focuses on music with a Afro-Cuban and Afro-Colombian bent, and has plenty of old-school salsa flavor.

Fairly recognizable names (mostly in remixed form) include Cachaito, King Chango, Sidestepper, Patato, Trüby Trio, and Señor Coconut. The bulk of the tracks are by artists I've never heard of such as Pac-Man, Telephunken, Rude Cubans, Malente, and Los Sampler's. One standout is the "Guararé Corraleros Tribute Mix" by Beto Bedoya, which takes a bouncy, raucous, brassy cumbia and adds cool electronic doodlings and sonic tricks, while keeping the upbeat groove at the fore. Rollicking accordion and punchy horns meet seventies funk guitar on this unique and highly entertaining track. The selections on Electros & Latinos will appeal to fans of both Latin and electronic music, and reveal exciting new directions in global groove. And, if you are ever in Madrid, you can hear DJ Floro live and in action at Suristán. It's well worth a visit. - Jacob Edgar

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