Song You Need to Know: Novalima, 'Madretierra' Remix

“Madretierra,” a skipping track from the long-running Afro-Peruvian group Novalima, is transformed into crunchy house by TolinchiLove, Vitu Valera, and Vazdra, who released a hard-headed remix of the song earlier this month. The single is being put out by Nervous Records, which is famous for its connection to seminal Nineties dance producers like Masters at Work and Armand Van Helden, so it’s not surprising that this remix favors the square, thumping drums that keep clubs humming.

“Madretierra” originally came out in 2015 on the Planetario album; it’s intricate and kinetic, with a pinging melody weaving around chattering hand drums and several boisterous, stuttering breakdowns. Throughout Novalima’s career, the band has proven itself to be devoted to remixes of all kinds, releasing re-worked versions of 2009’s Coba Coba, 2012’s Karimba, and 2018’s Ch’usay. The ensemble is so remix-happy, in fact, that “Madretierra” has already been re-done twice, with Vitu Valera and Izzy Wise each turning in versions in 2017.

With each remix, “Madretierra” gains new layers. The Nervous Records version corrals all the energy of the original and streamlines it into a relentless forward march at 124 beats per minute. Some of the pleasing stop-start of the original is lost, but this rendition more than makes up for that with extra wallop.

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