Venezuelan ambient pop artist Ezequiel Bertho, under the name Algodón Egipcio (Spanish for “Egyptian cotton”), has crafted a lush collection of Spanish-language electronic songs for his debut, La Lucha Constante. Using percussion, rubbery synths and chanting Spanish vocals, Bertho, who goes by Cheky, creates an organic world that isn’t afraid to break down into danceable breakdowns.
This isn’t Latin music per se; it’s in the vein of whoosh-y synth-pop but in Spanish. The Spanish language is less an impediment to comprehension than the average ethnocentric American listener would think. The natural euphony of the Spanish language gives the vocals an extra smoothness that English, with its Teutonic syllables, can’t provide. In vaguely psychedelic, introspective music like this, the chanting vocals are less important for their content than for their interplay and sound. Like Panda Bear, Algodón Egipcio has a preference for circular rhythms, computerized harmonies and repetitive lines.
Algodón Egipcio ladles on the reverb and synth washes while maintaining a scaffolding of song structure—no small feat. Songs like “El Día Previo” are held together by simple melodic lines played by guitar and synth, echoing percussion and Cheky’s multi-tracked chanting. The atmosphere is developed and explored, but never loses its footing. Cheky accomplishes this by keeping the structures simple—you won’t find major changes in key or tempo in any of the songs. The upside is simple pop; the downside is a repetitive, soporific quality within La Lucha Constante. But then again, this isn’t music for an action film’s climax anyway.