You could call Buenos Aires a late-night kind of town, sure, or you could call the American economy right now a bit shaky. Exercises in understatement aside, know this: If you were to show up at a club in the capital of Argentina at, say, 1 a.m., you’d find bartenders still setting up their stations, door guys confused as to why you’re asking if you can get in, etc. A late-night kind of town needs something to keep it going in the wee hours, and—illicit substances aside—what Buenos Aires has racing through its veins is Zizek—a creative, eclectic and electrifying DJ-collective-slash-dance-party currently on tour, bringing its heady beats and pan- Latin sounds to the northern hemisphere.
Buenos Aires was a hotspot on the international dance scene in the ’90s, but swing by most clubs there today and you’ll find the same tired techno beats and ’80s remixes collecting dust on the speakers. Zizek, who started their parties two years ago, base everything around Argentine cumbia but incorporate hip-hop, electro, funk and reggaeton into the mashed-up mix. In terms of reworking genres, the result is not far off from the Brazilian baile funk popularized by Diplo and M.I.A.—just way more accessible, neither harsh nor minimal. More than anything, Zizek’s music is a lot of fun. “Three guys—me, DJ Nim and Villa Diamante—got together to create a club night in B.A. that badly needed something new,” says Grant C. Dulli, aka El G, a touring deejay and co-founder of Zizek. “We wanted to throw it all in the sonic blender, where you would go to hear all kinds of sounds, especially local sounds like cumbia, reggaeton, dancehall, etc. The weirder and crazier the better.”
This is the Zizek crew’s fourth foray up north and its most prominent with stops in New York City, Miami, Mexico City and at California’s Coachella music festival. Back home, its global sounds and anything-goes aesthetic attracts electro fans, the punks, fashionistas, neighborhood kids—and audiences abroad are no less diverse.
“Crowds have been into it wherever we’ve gone,” says Dulli. “Our music is really fun stuff, appeals to many different urban tribes.
It gets the hips swaying early and the hands up later and the full-out dancing your face off to finish it off. This crew we’ve brought this time is no joke, goes right for the jugular.”
The current Zizek tour features newcomers Fauna, Zizek’s first foray into live vocals. Hailing from the Mendozan wine country, in the western part of Argentina near the Andes, Fauna—Catar_sys and Color Kit—drop beats heavy on digital cumbia, getting sweaty with the sounds of baile funk, reggaetón and dubstep, topped off with live emcees. Douster, a native Frenchman based in Buenos Aires, is also on the bill. He’s got a knack for taking Euro house and drum & bass sounds and hotwiring them with hip-hop, salsa and Latin rhythms. Finally, El G, one of Zizek’s founding fathers, spins a panoply of sounds, focusing on all the Zizek DJs, producers and artists who couldn’t make this tour. “Each Zizek producer looks at the reinterpretation of cumbia and folklorico sounds from a different vision,” says Dulli.
“The ‘experimental cumbia’ scene coming up around 2000 was a big inspiration and agitator of these kids to experiment and try new things. Zizek has built on that experimentation, encouraged the producers to push it harder and given the sound a global aduience.”
Named after the challenging Slovenian philosopher Slavoj i ek, the Argentinean crew has its own social theory: get on the floor, get moving, get sweaty. And though this week’s Salt Lake City dance party gets going at an hour that might raise a few eyebrows down in South America, where dinner doesn’t even get finished until well after midnight, Dulli says the ZZK boys won’t hold back the beats for us early birds.
The onus is on you, Salt Lake City, to set up a bangin’ after-party.
741 S. 330 West
Saturday, April 11