In the last few years, electronic takes on the Colombian rhythm of cumbia have dominated the alt-Latin dance scene here in the States. But back home in Colombia, a genuine cumbia revolution is going down, and Humberto Pernett is one of its fearless leaders.
After getting his start with the breakout electronic act Sidestepper, Pernett has branched out on his own in search of a sound he calls “cumbia galactica.” The result is music that manages to be traditional, electronic and psychedelic all at once, mashing up traditional Afro-Colombian drum sounds with space-echo trumpet licks and the kinds of twinkling ambiences you might hear at a planetarium.
Altogether, it's a take on dance music that is laced with a deeply futurist sense of spirituality. Pernett riffs on the infinite in this song, titled “El Mago” (The Wizard”), off his 2009 album of the same name. On Sunday, Pernett performs as a solo artist for the first time in New York, sharing the bill with the immaculate dance floor technicians of Que Bajo: DJs Geko Jones and Uproot Andy.