Post-punk(y), socially conscious ethereal rrrock performed with traditional Mexican@ instruments and b-b-beats!

Jazz theorists have postulated that there are two rhythms to ordinary life -- the pedestrian, surface beat -- the pattering of shoes on concrete, the passerby chatting with their neighbors, and beneath that, a counter-rhythm -- one that speaks to what’s really going on inside people’s hearts and minds.

¡Aparato!’s music – crafted by two formally trained Chican@ musicians – undoubtedly captures the latter: it speaks of wounds, of open gaps between physical spaces, like the US-Mexico border (in “Murolismo”), or the distance between loneliness and feeling loved (in “Aire”). With a sound that is at once pegajoso and penetrating, that mixes post-punk with the ethereal, this trio transports listeners to other realms.

As young Chican@s, these bandmates understand what it’s like to feel in-between: English and Spanish, California and Mexico, and friends and family. Guitarist Alexandro D. Hernández Guitérrez defines himself as a “Tejano-Fronterizo Michoacano San Quilmense Angelino born in Chinatown” and raised in Del Rio, Texas. His exquisite beats are pan-African but combine traditional Mexican styles with progressive rock. Vocalist and guitarist Cat brings a feminist cry to the group’s sound, but unlike the wail of her punk foremothers, Cat’s voice is unabashedly feminine, with a strong underpinning of alto resolve.

The meaning of the band’s name -- ¡Aparato! -- or Machine! in English (taken from a Cafe Tacvba song), stands in stark contrast to what the group offers: a cry to feel things deeply, to let go of all terrestrial limitations, routines, and simply be held up by air.

¡Aparato!’s music evokes something in the collective memory of all people -- the counter narrative, the quejido, the story untold but always present. In Cat’s voice there is an unflinching confrontation with pain, the protest of a Maria Lando, the female immigrant speaker in “Kriminal”, the steadfast power of a strong woman while Hernandez Gutierrez provide's an artful reminder that life goes on even in the face of deep pain, even when we’re not ready.

~ Anne Hoffman [+]