Nortec, an abbreviation of norteño-techno, may sound like an oxymoron to some, but the five-man Tijuana-based Nortec Collective thrives on contradictions. They deconstruct norteño, ranchera, and banda sinaloense and add loops, samples, and globally minded club beats. The result is a bright, bouncy sound that's miles away from the Tijuana most gringos imagine. "Tijuana Makes Me Happy" places the goofy psych pop of the Beatles atop lyrics that praise Nortec's hometown as "the happiest place on Earth." On "Esa Banda en Dub," a collaboration with Tucson's Calexico, dub effects blend with spaghetti Western twang, Jacob Velenzuela's ethereal trumpet, and a smooth, Saturday-night lowrider rhythm. Every track is crammed with unexpected juxtapositions for music that sounds both ancient and futuristic.
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