On April 7th the Berlin-based Peruvian musicians Alejandra Cárdenas, AKA Ale Hop, and Laura Robles present their debut album together, released via Buh records. With a foundation informed by decolonialism and organology, ‘Agua Dulce’ is a radical deconstruction of traditional rhythms of the Peruvian coast, in which the cajón instrument plays a central role. ‘Agua Dulce’ is named after the most popular beach in Lima, near where both artists lived during their childhood, houses apart, without ever meeting one another. Now, years later, the pair have joined forces, with Robles on a self-built electric cajón and Cárdenas on electric guitar and electronics. Together they explore rhythmical structures that form the backbone of the complex Afro-Peruvian music and dance traditions – a broad term used for the various musical developments that occurred in the last two centuries, at the shores of the Peruvian Pacific. The cajón originated in coastal Peru as a percussion instrument that the black slaves created from wooden fruit boxes, when foot drums were banned at the end of the Spanish colonial-era, in the 19th century. From its birth the cajón was a symbol of resistance, experimentation and transformation, so Robles and Cárdenas strive to maintain the instrument’s spirit and qualities by pushing the boundaries of its sound into the future. However, although buzzing with an intense voltage and proffering a fresh contribution to modern experimental/noise/low fi/percussive music, the duo’s mission isn’t merely capturing something sonically futuristic, but is primarily concerned with shaking off the dust: “These rhythms have become ossified nowadays, heard in Peruvian folklore shows, and on the ‘global music’ circuit, but our desire is to experiment and do something more radical with them, connecting to the instruments more radical past”, comments Cárdenas. The two musicians take the pulses of dances like Landó, Zamacueca, Festejo, Alcatraz, Lamento and Son de los diablos, electrifying and mutating them into pure textures, or reinforcing the physical character of the cajón through repetition and distortion. The LP began with recorded improvisations between the duo at Ale Hop’s studio, which she then edited, adding synths and more guitar. Following that it was performed live for the Heroines Of Sound festival, accompanied by the dancer/choreographer Liza Alpiźar Aguilar, which was described as “nothing short of amazing” by The Wire. Following the show Cárdenas added further edits and post production, resulting in the finished article. ‘Agua Dulce’ is published through Buh Records, on all digital platforms and in a vinyl edition, limited to 300 copies. Cover Art by Eduardo Yaguas. --- Ale Hop is an artist, researcher and experimental musician. Her work includes live shows, record releases, sound and video artworks, research on sound and technology, and original music for film and dance. Her live performances merge the physical qualities of music with raw emotional states. She builds layers of sounds by blending a complex repertoire of guitar techniques processed by synthesis devices, to create a music of deep physical intensity. She came up in Lima's experimental underground during the 2000s, and currently resides in Berlin, where she caught the attention of the city's electronic scene, with her visceral live guitar performances, in which she loops out layers of sound, creating densely woven atmospheres. She has recorded mixes for Crack magazine and The Wire, and performed and exhibited work at Unsound, Rewire, Boiler Room, HÖR, New York’s Museum of Arts and Design and Somerset House. Her previous album, 2021’s ‘Why Is It They Say A City Like Any City?’ featured contributions from KMRU and Concepción Huerta, amongst others. alehophop.com Laura Robles was born in Swaziland and grew up in Lima. She is a percussionist and bassist formed from a very young age in the rich Afro-Peruvian and Cuban musical traditions. Her approach to jazz, funk and free improvisation is informed by the rhythmic elements of Latin American popular music. Robles founded the socio-educational initiative Parió Paula’. She has played with theater and dance companies and renowned folk, jazz and rock musicians worldwide, as diverse as: Maria Schneider, Christian Weidner, Almut Kühne, Pablo Held, Niels Klein, Ensemble Neue Musik Zürich, WDR Big Band, Christian Steyer, Wanja Slavin and Steffen Schorn. Laura lives and works in Berlin. In 2022 she was nominated for the German Jazzpreis award in the drums/percussion category, and in 2014 she won Berlin’s Studio Prize in with her band Astrocombo. She is reputed to be one of the best cajón players in Peru.