Nicola Cruz and Minimal Imagination


Let’s go on a walk. It’s down a road that smells like travel and liberation. The stars remind you of another faraway place, but your senses insist that this warm air is new. Keep going, don’t stop. Drink lots of water and let the bits that bother you do their thing. Nothing matters because you’re here- at the tail end of dim, lungs full and waving against death on a cliff, tipping the scales of fear and excitement like they’re equal, interchangeable attitudes swapping only when one becomes exhausted by the other.

Music is powerful, they/I say. It can make you feel like you’re voluntarily jolting to a beat when in fact it commands you. Following effects as they build with your visual imagination and a close behind hand snaking through the air to fresh, noisey goodness. Reminding you with audible feeling that you are free in bed with headphones on, free on a mountainside porch in Quito, always- spiritually, fundamentally, definitely- free.

Ecuadorian producer Nicola Cruz creates music that reflects his origins. It’s rinsed in traditional Latin American sounds but spun with crisp beat structures, lounge rhythms and thick, pulpy minimalism. Under the wing of Mexico-based MEXA Records (Louie Fresco, Timo Maas, Lauro Viotti) for a few years now, Cruz is now also with the QTZLCTL collective, an entirely free release platform aimed at connecting people directly to good music. Frequent remixes, hour sets and original tracks are all for the moment mostly free, lending to an already generous collection of Soundcloud tracks.

The Nicolas Jaar similarities are certainly there, though Cruz keeps a quicker tempo and maintains an accessible distance away from the all-consuming bass antics of Jaar. His version of “Simiolo” by DDD! is a mesmerizing remix of vocals and slow-hopped beats, while the mournful “La Llorona” (below) deeply resonates with beautiful, textured accompaniment. Cruz’s rework of “Down in Mexico” (above) is designed to slowly build, then ravage your senses with a heavy sort of nostalgic pleasure, up for unquestioned repeat.

His latest EP Noise Within Us is a heavier techno collection worth venturing to if down-tempo gets old, which for some it can. A visual interpretation of the dripping electronic effects on “Colibria” is below- check Nicola on drums and Mac video effect adventures. If you like what you hear, check out Soundcloud for dozens more. Spanish comments dominate his songs; this man is due for international exposure and with any luck, we’ll all have the pleasure of audio-induced visual adventures soon- freedom through feeling and organic, ageless imagination.


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