Music Reviews
Golden Hornet

Golden Hornet

MXTX: A Cross-Border Exchange

Six Degrees Records

At its core, MXTX is a massive open source sample library that exists for musicians to play with. The project that generated that library is an amazing blending of talents—Graham Reynolds enlisted 40 musicians from Texas and Mexico to create the samples. The next phase of the project paired 13 DJ-producers with classical composers to create an album using the sample library. The pairs were made up of one Texan and one Mexican, based on the idea that “through creative art making… we can resist and repel the forces of intolerance.”

MXTX: A Cross-Border Exchange is the fruit of the collaborative labor. Superficially, the music could be called chill-out EDM. Of course, there is much more going on. The songs have layers and layers of sound from the sample library along with live musicians ranging from folkloric to orchestral. “Belonging” has a laid back Clint Eastwood feel. “Human Mechanics” is one of the most experimental pieces, with samples of boots on gravel providing the rhythm and instrumentalists going off in free jazz flights. “I Wish You Joy” originated as a lush orchestral piece. By the time it makes it to the record, it’s been stripped down to the bare essentials, cut, looped and sampled into a different dimension.

With so many people sowing discord and division, it often feels like we’re on the brink of societal collapse. When I feel like I’m about to disappear into a dark well of nihilism, something like MXTX shows up to give hope again. MXTX demonstrates that Mexican or American, we have a shared culture. We’re all in this together, despite what the talking heads on cable news want us to believe.

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