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Pepito



Pepito is the San Francisco-based real life couple of Havana-born José Márquez and Tijuana-born Ana Machado. Together they're creating some unpredictable and forceful musical alchemy that's at once intensely culturally specific and sweepingly broad in its scope. They make songs that merge things, that blur the lines between things. For them, ambient soundscaping, skittery techno rhythms, roaring post-punk guitar fuzz, and bedroom pop intimacy all have a place together, often in the same song. Similarly, the duo mixes lyrical subjects both personal and political, even languages (employing mostly Spanish, but also some English and French), with apparent disregard for the notion that everything has its right place. This makes them dangerous, occasionally off-putting, and almost always utterly captivating.

If you hold continuity particularly dear, then Pepito's 2002 debut album Migrante probably isn't going to work for you. Its sudden shifts in tempo and style can be unnerving, as on the opener, "Terapia," a peculiar but kind glitchy pop song for its first three fourths before abruptly morphing into a muscular guitar-rock anthem. These kinds of surprising juxtapositions are commonplace Pepito's songs. So are all manner of interruptions, reversals, and meta-commentary, like on "Salyut," another offbeat noise-spiked electro-pop tune which, already having paused once for some deep breathing exercises, then sees Márquez suddenly interrupt Machado's Spanish vocals to remark in English, "I don't get it, this song is about a Soviet cosmonaut with a really thick French accent, the whole time she's singing in Spanish..." That moment is emblematic; even more so is the sudden mix tape sentimentality of "New Wave," on which Machado interrupts an early instrumental passage to tell , "Hi baby, listen to this tape that I made for you, because I love you, and this music is our world, I'm never going to let you go." But their world is your world too. The moment is the apotheosis of Pepito's dual and interwoven tendencies to make the personal political and to place disparate elements side by side. It's an approach that reveals much about the uniqueness of its creators, and by extension, the 21st century world that shapes all of us each day.

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