QOQEQA: The electric voice of Afro-Peruvian roots
With dance floors closing, it has allowed electronic artists to explore other areas, such as science-fiction landscapes and their own roots.
It is true that both Daniel Valle-Riestra's stage name and his latest album, AxuxA by QOQEQA, might sound too futuristic — the kind of music you would hear in a space cantina full of androids. However, the reality is that its galactic diffusion would do nothing but evoke the distant and lost Amazonian jungles and Andean heights of his ancestors.
The rich panorama of Latin American ambient music, which has been impressing the world with Caribbean sounds for almost a decade now, now has a new exponent of possible avenues in QOQEQA, who has known how to take advantage of the terrible past year and the closing of the dance floors to take advantage of the "opportunity" for electronic artists to listen to other textures.
The result is tracks that grow from the initial silence, as if each track were an exploration of a lost, mythical territory of jungle ancestors, full of percussion and aquatic sounds, almost like the soundtrack of a time travel movie that moves to the primitive beginnings of the Amazon.
Important figure in the panorama are Dengue Dengue Dengue Dengue, who have been active since 2017 with seven albums and EPs, and started the year with their own label called Kebrada and the compilation Discos en 3/Cuartos, that attested to a rich panorama of Latin American ambient electronic music.
The compilation also featured Peruvian Daniel Valle Riestra, who has been interested in the genre since he was a child, and who as QOQEQA, had released on Terror Negro Records and Eck Echo.
He was also half of the band, Animal Chuki, with whom he released three EPs. Now, he's signed with Kebrada for the first album produced by the producer from Lima as reported by Indie Hoy.
In general, a career in electronica and minimal is centralized in an exploration of Afro-Peruvian sounds.
Even the name is a veiled reference: "It’s a word I made up to mean Coca leaf, a plant sacred to Peruvians for millennia. It also has a numeric meaning, and phonetically it has a triplet rhythm. It is pronounced Koh-Keh-Kah, with a hard Q."
He has also expressed himself about the Latin particularities of the album and its almost mediumistic relationship.
"I have that groove in my blood and it bursts through me into my compositions. I’m just a conduit for timeless rhythms and melodies."
It is worth being carried beyond the confines of time by such timeless melodies between futuristic minimal, tropical dub and Afro-Peruvian mediums.