LCTRAX009 Out Now: Download Page
Artwork by Kim Laughton
Lit City Trax affiliate and NYC-based artist False Witness presents Makina, his first single. The track is an ominous and metallic reworking of the 2013 Urbano hit of the same name by Los Teke Teke, the urban music duo from the Dominican Republic. Makina daringly combines dance music with sociopolitical conversation.
Across three tracks, False Witness actualizes yet another invocation of ‘islandindustrial’—the melding of urban vibes from Latin America and the Caribbean with minimal, dark, club-oriented dance music. Through the dance music medium, this collection explores a subliminal political interpretation of the word “makina,” a colloquial spelling of “maquina” (“machine,” in English). Juxtaposing samples from Joey Beltram, Armand Van Helden, and others, False Witness creates a fresh take on this club ready piece, built upon the warped, digital chant of “makina.”
False Witness is a DJ persona, production moniker, and ongoing sound performance by the artist Marco Gomez. First conceived while Gomez was an undergraduate pharmacology student, the False Witness project began as a musical outfit that questioned the authority of religious, academic, corporate, and political institutions. As time went on, False Witness’ sound grew to incorporate other themes, including his ancestral background and the struggles of oppressed queer people of color.
False Witness is also member of KUNQ (pronounced k-uhn-k), a collective founded in Boston by a team of likeminded queer artists who set out to create new, queer-oriented, multidisciplinary art. Since its inception, the original KUNQ artists have since moved to Brooklyn, NY and Oakland, CA to further expand their craft. It was in Brooklyn, in the wake of many 3AM DJ sets in warehouses and DIY spaces, that the concept of Makina was born.
“Makina”, at first glance, is a straightforward march between Jersey and Baltimore kick patterns, menacing rides, and dembow-inspired gated sirens. However, on a deeper level, it is the introduction to the question “Pero, que makina?” (But, what/which machine?) that False Witness asks of all club goers reveling in ecstasy—chemical or otherwise. What political machines of oppression are you buying into? Which societal mechanisms do you have to destroy?
Frequent collaborator Rizzla, and member of the KUNQ artist collective, takes a rusty scalpel to Makina, carving out a dark space between Baltimore and Urbano. Holding just the vocal samples from the original mix, his version is sown with manic drops ,violent outbursts, and the rise and fall of apocalyptic sirens.
False Witness offers a final interpretation of “Makina” on the DURO mix (“duro” literally translates as “hard”). This version is a return to his Hardstyle and Hardcore influences that were the hallmark of his first experiments with restructuring urban music. This version creates a new soundscape of anxious “Amen” breaks, distortion kicks, and pressurized engine exhaust over the original mix’s sample bank.