Delia Beatriz’s musical output straddles two distinct artistic poles; her debut solo album, 2017’s acclaimed “Animus”, oozed from sensual, beatless soundscapes to high-octane club music, while her 2019-released 'System' harnessed tribal guarachero elements while simultaneously scraping ideas from industrial techno. On 'The Long Count', the Mexican-American producer has inked her most rigorous statement to date, sublimating opaque ancestral knowledge into vaporous AI-stirred fog banks, activating an ancient rite that reaches into tomorrow. It’s audacious electro-acoustic archaeology that sounds disorientating, anachronistic and arcane.
'The Long Count' is rooted in research Beatriz made into Mayan wind instruments - whistles, ocarinas, flutes and trumpets - using the archive of the Mayan Studies Institute at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, the oldest and largest collection of its kind. Developing a set of digital instruments that could be played using different types of temperaments and scales, Delia processed these sounds using machine learning techniques to shuttle the distant past into our extant artistic universe, peering into Mexico’s pre-colonial history and weaving those ideas into complex tonalities gleaned from musique concrète and contemporary electro-acoustic music.
Beatriz describes the Mayan instrumentation as ancestral technology, part of a world that’s not so much been forgotten, but purposefully erased. And although it’s impossible to know exactly how Mayan music may have sounded, it’s feasible to converse with history using modern technology to conduct a ceremony of remembrance.
Featuring soundscapes that are haunted by indistinct, shared memories and centuries of pent-up emotion, the material here is as intentional, direct and meticulously crafted as the work of Deathprod or Thomas Köner; Debit's microtonal compositions are psychedelic to their core, shapeshifting through dimensions and painting complex mental images while retaining a stylistic focus and lucidity that’s all too rare. Although 'The Long Count' was nurtured by machines, human experience is coded into its DNA - an ancient-future heirloom that whispers through countless generations.