Hard days can produce hard music, as is apparent in the full-length debut of Kamixlo following a number of EPs. The producer honed his sound as the owner of the Bala Club imprint, a label and club that ignored boundaries in search of a deeper tone. Cicatriz (Spanish for scar) is a pounding, propulsive, percussive beast that makes one wish the club were still open ~ but then again, few clubs are open in the time of COVID.
Numerous influences are felt throughout the set, from industrial to reggaeton. The common denominator is an unrelenting aggression. While we sometimes take our scars out on the world, at other times our scars define us, and we wear them as badges of honor. This certainly seems to be the case on “Sick,” the album’s first single, a stomper for steel-toed boots. This opening salvo emits confidence and strength. One can imagine climbing to the top of a speaker, drink in hand, toasting the audience. It also makes one want to drive really fast.
After a pair of industrial churners (one dedicated to Limp Bizkit’s DJ), the two-part title track pushes to center stage. At 112 BPMs, “Cicatriz” seems like a slow roller, but the sense of power is unmistakable. Guest stars Felix Lee and Woesum appear late in the album to enhance the flavor, but “Destruction” is the most memorable track, offering a siren-like buildup before a declarative shift from one set of beats to another. In a set based on an in-your-face sound, the greatest impact is made when the artist holds back. While the abrasive, beatless breakdown disqualifies the piece as a club track, it does make one think about those scars, sounding like a torture room without an exit. And yet, Kamixlo did escape; the destruction may be to innocence, a frame of mind, an old circle of acquaintances. No matter the actual inspiration, we’re inspired by the crash and burn. (Richard Allen)