Listening Guide

A chapter-by-chapter selection of audio/video clips featuring the music referenced in Uproot, with endnotes and links to explore further!

Chapter Eight Loops


A song from Erick Rincon that typifies the DJs' sound that afternoon at ArcoIris club in Monterrey, followed by an important precursor track: Ricardo Reyna’s tribal house anthem ‘La Danza Azteca’ from the early 2000s.

Mexican musician Jorge Lopez’s atmospheric songs and soundscapes built around pre-Colombian instrumentation have transformed him into a a spiritual grandfather to the young tribaleros. These two full-album rips give a taste: Prehispanic Music For The Forgotten Spirits (1994) and Pre-Hispanico (2002)

A few months after I finished this chapter I came across this fitting quote in John Berger’s essay ‘Two Women Photographers’: “To make sense of what I'm suggesting it is necessary to reject the notion of time that began in Europe during the eighteen century and is closely linked with the positivism and linear accountability of modern capitalism: the notion that a single time, which is unilinear, regular, abstract and irreversible, carries everything. All other cultures have propose a coexistence of various times surrounded in some way by the timeless.”

For more audio context to the early tribal guarachero scene, here’s Javier Lopez versioning a popular cumbia, recorded live at ArcoIris, followed by the classic reggae song whose guitar melody line was the most popular sample of the afternoon.

The video for 3Ball MTY’s breakout single, “Intentalo,” followed by a clip of their “Vive Hoy” song/ad – the official versions of this have been taken down.

Javier Estrada

For further reading

Lev Manovich’s 1998 essay “Database as Symbolic Form” pdf has had a huge impact on my thinking about loops/nonlinearity, narrative, and digital environments. His 2001 book The Language of New Media remains relevant.

I can recommend two fascinating sets of scientific research investigating self-similarity in popular music. On page 217 I quote “Measuring the Evolution of Contemporary Western Popular Music” (Nature, 2012). 2014's “Instrumentational Complexity of Music Genres and Why Simplicity Sells” (PLOS ONE) is more user-friendly, with great charts.

Welcome to the Listening Guide, a chapter-by-chapter selection of audio/video clips featuring the music referenced in the book, with endnotes and links to explore further!

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Available August 16, 2016 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux