Huelga - Huelga - (6/10)
Published on February 19, 2019
Genre:Progressive Thrash / Avantgarde / Jazz
Welcome to the sound of neural disassembly. If you are looking to find something that breaks down the definition of music from the marrow of its bones, you are in the right place. Huelga is a one man instrumental project set to release this debut self-titled EP on March 1st. It is the work of college music teacher and jazz drummer Michael Fonseca from Austin Texas, inspired by, and I quote from his own biography “modern composers Charles Ives, Frank Zappa, and Elliot Carter, as well as the Chicano Movement and the present political tensions that have come to a boil on the Texas/Mexico border”. Ready to take in all of that? Good, let’s begin.
This Ep begins with a hard hitting staccato riff with screeching melodies. It then follows into an Animals as Leaders style chopping bass and drum groove (with more screeching) that soon becomes a thrashy riff. A dissonant guitar lead evolves on top of the ever changing background and starts fucking around tempos at an impossible frequency and moves further into a riffing labyrinth until the end of opening track “The Very Marrow of our Bones”. All this is under 3 minutes of playing time. Fonseca recorded all drums guitars and bass on his EP and his sound is built on a backbone of poly-rhythms and dissonant melodies that are bound to challenge even the most evolved fusion enthusiasts. Everything relies on distorted tones and noisy yet very ordered and arranged song structures… if you can even refer to them like that. You simply cannot tap your foot to this as the man cannot stick to a tempo for more than 30 seconds. From the melodies perspective, this sounds a lot like a jazz album, becoming too dissonant even for such expectations but still has an obvious metal feel due to the thrash sound of heavy guitars and drums. The production is fairly decent but very noisy often burying lead guitars under the roaring riffs and blasting drums. It’s definitely a record made to bend the mind strings, it sends nothing on an emotional level (except maybe panic attacks) and feels more like educational material for jazz musicians. I almost want to call it avant-garde punk as it also has an attitude of protest towards the traditional way of writing music.
Michael Fonseca decided to start this project because he was feeling restricted playing in bands and having contained his thirst for limitless creativity. This chance to express himself with no regulation had him slip very far into experimental territory. Now experimenting means that you don’t know if the results will be good and that is so visible here. I must admire the man’s boldness and skill but no matter how I tried, I just cannot find this record enjoyable. It’s a total mind-fuck and feels more like sports on instruments then music. On some level you do get an intellectual satisfaction from Huelga, but past that it just wears you down. I won’t go as far as saying that it’s a bad record because everything about this project is set to defy and reinvent what music is supposed to be, so you’d have to understand the aim before judging if it succeeded. Rating this record is a pointless endeavor. I would however encourage anyone to throw an ear at this EP just so you could see how untamed Fonseca is on a creative level. It’s a record most certainly destined to a small niche of fusion and experimental music listeners with analytical and resilient minds. It easily defeated me. Are you up for the challenge?