By: N. David Pastor
The musical collaboration and life partnership of Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo del Valle. Part Caribbean, part indie; retro, yet modern; Brooklyn-based via Puerto Rico; troublemakers…but not in the traditional sense. Buscabulla just happens to be the word for it in Puerto Rican slang. But with so many disparate influences, both musical and non-musical, finding harmony on the debut EP, let’s just say the etymology of their sound is problematic. And by that, I’m referring to the coherent mix of Caribbean samples, Latin percussion, soulful vibes, reggaeton-infused rhythms, funk guitar, and synthizers found on this record. I’m probably leaving few things out, but that’s the general idea.
If we continue with the slang metaphor, then I should mention the songs are all written in Spanish–not because it restricts access for some listeners, but because you’d have a hard time translating the calm, eclectic vibe of the songs to any other language. “Caer” is the most obvious example of this. If you watch the music video, you’ll see shadows and silhouettes as Raquel Berrios shuffles from side to side, emulating Lana del Rey with her detached, yet warmly inviting vocals scattered throughout. Meanwhile, her partner, in deadpan countenance, goes through a cache of different musical instruments before ditching the cowbell and finally settling on the guitar; this after he casually throws a banana peel over his shoulder (watch the video, it’s cooler than it sounds). It’s effortless. Reassuring. Like at least someone out there knows what they’re doing. A kind of self-contained minimalism.
It’s also cool enough for Jay-Z to rock a sweater of the label Buscabulla is signed to at the moment, Maison Kitsuné, a boutique French music and fashion label based in Paris. Not to mention cool enough to have Dev Hynes, also known as Blood Orange (duh), produce the long awaited EP that they began working on after winning a contest hosted by Guitar Center and Converse. So maybe there’s just something about Buscabulla that I can’t quite explain. But here’s the thing about slang: it always makes sense in context. So I’ll let the music do the rest…