Puerto Rican genderqueer musician Xango/Suave returns from a brief hiatus following their 2017 LP, Equis, with a track and video under a new moniker: Bebé Machete. While continuing to pay tribute to their ancestral past, the name change might indicate a subtle shift in the solo artist’s process. Bebé Machete’s liberating explorations of salsa, jazz, bedroom pop and experimental rock were largely independent undertakings, rarely challenging one another. But on the lead single from their forthcoming album for Funnybone Records, Bebé Machete pulls out all the stops–distilling the vastness of their experience and style into one outrageous song.
“Ghazal” picks up like a lullaby, Bebé’s soothing baritone vocals leading gracefully into a mid-tempo jazz-folk arrangement. The track’s intensity waxes and wanes with relative ease, switching often between Spanish and English-sung verses before falling into a random swell of uptempo funk. The overall effect is disorienting and strange, closer to the form of two or three individual tracks, but here the stylistic oddity works. In previous songs as Xango/Suave, they wrote about queerness being at odds with whiteness, anti-colonialism at odds with American nationalism–and you can hear it on “Ghazal”. The disjointed, unconventional flow draws us in and leaves us wanting more.
We’re positively stoked to premiere the track and video, directed by Kelsey Sharpe and Mobey Irizarry. Watch it above!
Bump Equis below.