kaleidoscopic and majestic - ace album coming on Infine in November.
'On Your Own Again'
I drunkardly tried to introduce myself to Cubenx (César Urbina) when I met him in person for the first time in December 2006 in Guadalajara. Inebriated on strange beverages given to me by people I had met earlier in the day, I was a long way from my home in Tijuana and plastered out of my mind. Cubenx, not a stranger to party situations, hit it off immediately with his tipsy new friend.
Similarly, it was Cubenx’s music that made an intoxicated first impression on me some months before when his demo tracks arrived at my doorstep, which since then showcased his rich production skills. A couple of those tracks later appeared in his debut for my Static Discos imprint in 2008, "The Cold Swells", a collection of music that was previously released on the Synergy Networks, Cyan and I Need It netlabels. One of the tracks was “Glandula”, a passionate and epic techno track that caught the attention of Alexandre Cazac & Agoria during the pre-planning stages of InFiné, who immediately requested a full album from the then 27 year-old Cubenx. And with my blessing, I saw his international career to slowly blossom, much in the same way as his compatriot Murcof a few years earlier, another dear friend who coincidentally also now records for Infiné.
Cubenx’s debut album would have to wait, as only a couple of EP’s (Glándula EP in 2007 and Can’t Throw A Stone EP in 2008) on InFiné were the stop gaps before "On Your Own Again" could be completed some years later. In the meantime Cubenx travelled to Europe, lived in Berlin, fell in love with a couple of European girls and returned to México broken hearted. It was on a layover in New York from Belgium that Cubenx hit shuffle on his iPod and Scott Walker’s “On Your Own Again” started playing, a wake up call from the eternal balladeer that hit Cubenx where it hurt the most. A crucial moment that would inspire Cubenx to finally start recording a full album as soon as he settled down again in México. A process that was met itself with many obstacles, including a new girlfriend and relocating to Guadalajara from Puerto Vallarta four times before finding a new job to support his jet setting ways.
But there was also a new factor that slowed down his recording process, as Cubenx confided to me over the months that he was moving further away from producing dance music and wanting to focus on songwriting with real instruments and voices. A task that has resulted in a fertile tapestry of electronic based songs that may have to do more with English post-punk (“These Days” and “Sun Dried”) and shoegaze (“Locked”) than with the British Progressive influenced Mininal Techno he is most known for. While songs like “Adrift At Sea”, “Sierra Madre” and “Lovebirds” retain Cubenx’s lush sound design and carefully planned dynamics, they are spread out in a broader palette of song crafting. Only “Wait And See” sees Cubenx going back to his clubbing ways, a melodic and colorful banger that stands out when placed at the side of any classic Kompakt outing.
The songs in On Your Own Again also retain a psychedelic taint that Cubenx links to his Mexicanity, especially on the acoustic fullness of “Sueña Con Venados “(Dreams With Deers) and “Mist Over The Lake”, where he wanted to evoke the ritualistic ambiance of a virtual Mexican desert. Or as the piano based “Grass” narrates, a psychoactive out of body experience under the effects of Salvia Divinorum, a search for the inner non-spirituality much in tune with Latin American psychomagicians like Jodorowsky. A strong sentiment that is explored further in “Noir”, an atonal instrumental piece of ambient filled with cosmic musings and psychedelia.
On Your Own Again also marks Cubenx first collaboration with Chicago musician and singer Alfredo Nogueira, a close associate of Telefon Tel Aviv, L’Altra and Apparat, on the song “These Days”. Francisco Rosas of Flight Attendants, the downtempo duo he shares with Cubenx, co-wrote “Sierra Madre” and laid some guitar licks on “Sueña Con Venados”.
On Your Own Again is Cubenx’s coming of age album, where his creative impulses reach for his own true voice, all the while retaining the kaleidoscopic and majestic elements previously present in the sound design of his dance tracks, that since then hinted at a wider and farther reaching musical panorama.
(Written by Ejival, Static Discos director, DJ and Cubenx amigo.)
CUBENX_ "On Your Own Again" [iF1017]
1_Locked // 2_These Days // 3_Adrift At Sea // 4_Lovebirds // 5_Grass //6_Noir // 7_Sun Dried // 8_Sierra Madre // 9_Wait & See // 10_Mist Over The Lake // 11_Sueña con Venados
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