According to simple-minded caricature, San Antonio is a city best known for Tim Duncan, Pace Picante Sauce, and the Alamo (which according to my research gleaned from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure has neither bikes nor a basement). Though Austin and Dallas typically absorb the glare of the Texan music spotlight, Exponential Records, based in the land of Ginobili seeks to help define the city’s soundtrack for those benighted masses unfamiliar with Bill Miller BBQ.
Extant since 2002, the manifesto is straight-forward and consistently executed: “it is our belief that good music can come from anywhere and there does not need to be any flashy gimmicks associated with it.We believe in breaking stereotypes. Exponential is a Hispanic owned label with the majority of the artists being of Hispanic Ethnicity. We also support the DIY aesthetic…all the artwork and music are designed and produced by the artists themselves. We believe strongly in promoting artists primarily from Texas….We make electronic music for humans.”
Aether and label founder Ernest Gonzales have already been covered in this space, but their roster runs deep, as evidenced by Besides, the sophomore album from civil rights attorney/beatmaker Diego Bernal. The barrister’s recent interview with Travis Glave of Bloggerhouse is recommended reading for those interested in a deeper understanding of Bernal’s aesthetic, but think blunted instrumentalism equally indebted to Lowrider oldies, Latin funk and other Latin and South Texas music as much as Tribe and Dilla. This is a man who has a song called “Cumbiatches Brew” and in a way that explains everything.
Prone to wearing flamboyant luchador masks and creating a Mariachi-esque web of mystery , Mexicans with Guns is the sobriquet of Gonzales, swapping the warm glaze of his solo work for a more iron-fisted dubstep variant, infused with a heavy Latin vibe. Recording for Stones Throw subsidiary, Innovative Leisure, expect to hear more from Mexicans with Guns, with multiple releases planned for 2010 including collabos with Tiffany Preston of Rainbow Arabia, Nocando, and Nacho Libre.