The music of Latin America – particularly that of Argentina – encompasses a rich culture steeped in history, and of a people descended from all parts of the globe; from sub-Saharan Africa to the European continents. Contemporary Music in Argentina (although carrying the distinctive syncopated rhythms, up tempo beats, and studio manufactured sounds of American Pop, Rock, and the like) still manages to embed and maintain the pulse and heartbeat of its heritage and tradition within its sound. Pop music naturally reigns across all continents, and Argentina is no different in churning out its own pop stars to rival that of the US. Punk music, however, might not be the first (or even the last) genre that might spring to mind when speaking of Argentina. Sure one could easily recognize the country as an important and influential proponent for Rock music and its ever-evolving Rock scene. But Punk? That’s a rather peculiar and precarious form, requiring not only a depth of artistry, musical ingenuity, and improvisational prowess.
Yet there is perhaps one musical artist from that country who possesses these qualities far beyond what has ever been seen or heard from the likes of any artist from Latin America, or in fact anywhere on the planet; and that artist is the high priestess of Pop, Juana Molina. A consummate musician in every sense, Molina is a master guitarist with a powerhouse vocal instrument, and further skilled at toying with other instruments.
A goddess of experimental pop, Molina recently released a new EP, ForFun, which apparently was conceived and derived from a concert her band had to play at a major music festival, yet found themselves without their instruments. Putting their musical expertise, playfulness, and resourcefulness to use meant having to improvise, which resulted in a unique and distinctive sound that showcased the bands true abilities and creativity as musicians and true showmen. What many musicians today might have considered impossible, Molina and her band conquered by improvising on a supernatural level. The experience spawned the idea for ForFun, formalizing the eleventh hour dilemma the band faced. The final product is a joyful punk inspired EP full of color, technique, and a certain joie de vivre. Certainly the first single from the EP, “Paraguay Punk”, is the personification of all the color, life, and guttural power that exemplifies Latin America.
The music video for “Paraguay Punk” goes even further, with Molina experimenting with visual art and animation. Created exclusively for digital streaming app KABINETT, “Paraguay Punk” is an exuberant testament to the playfulness of Molina, an artist always testing new ground; this time with a moving art-piece depicting an animated personification of the musical artist in an always moving, always dancing milieu. Certainly a direct parallel to her music, which itself always dances. Furthermore, Molina has tapped – not instagram; not Apple Music; not Tidal; not even YouTube – but KABINETT, a relative baby in the digital streaming world, as a representation of her artistry and creativity. And my what a stamp of approval that is!
Launched in 2017 by the award-winning filmmaker and musician Eduardo Costantini (the man behind MUBI – another online film-streaming platform that brings classic, independent, and international films to subscribers in over 200 countries), and Daniel Kruglikov, KABINETT is described as a platform for the art-house and the independent, offering a curated selection of short films by established and emerging creative talent in art, film, and music, including interviews by prominent figures working to elevate social consciousness.
Described by the Wall Street Journal as the “anti-Instagram”, KABINETT is specifically art-based, and has been featured in major magazines including Variety and Paper. With over 600,000 views and a monthly viewing average of 55k, KABINETT has already released exclusive works from top artists including Patti Smith, Sean Lennon, Sophie Auster, and Liliana Porter. For an app featuring everything from video art, music videos, and portraits, it’s fitting that Molina should partner with this creative outlet – created specifically for artist’s as a platform for open dialogue and artistic exchange – whilst showcasing a new string to her ever-evolving bow.
The Untitled Magazine spoke with KABINETT’s founder Eduardo Costantini about this new collaboration:
How did the idea for this collaboration with Juana Molina come about?
Juana Molina is a celebrated figure in Argentine popular culture, best known for her comedy and television presence several decades ago. She is now writing and performing original music which aligns closely with KABINETT’s artistic vision; it is raw, authentic and breaking boundaries. This particular project of Molina’s arose in a most fascinating way: after the band’s gear was misplaced by an airline, the band had to use what was already available on the stage where they were performing. The resourcefulness of the band allowed their true intuition and insight as musicians to shine through, while bringing to the table a familiar but retro array of sounds closely associated with the punk and DIY movements of the 70’s and 80’s.
Have you always been a follower and fan of Molina’ work?
For many years, Molina has held a special place in our hearts and minds as one of the most memorable female comedians of Argentina. What we find most inspiring about Molina’s work is her versatility and persistence. She is not an artist who works solely in one medium; rather she is what we consider a renaissance type — a person of many talents and trades, all of which fit together in a unique and elevating way.
Was a joint collaborative process from inception or did Juana decide on the concept herself, and you simply featured it?
Juana Molina and her animator, Dante Zaballa, conceived of and executed the animation; the KABINETT team did not have direct creative input during production. That said, KABINETT has just completed the production of an exclusive video featuring Juana Molina, directed by Alejo Moguillansky and co-produced with El Pampero Cine, another production company based in Argentina. In the coming months, we will release this video.
How do you feel the video for “Paraguay Punk” represents the overall ethos and creativity of KABINETT?
The video is a multimedia work, collaboratively produced between artists of different specialties. The communal aspect of the piece, as well as the messages of the song itself all speak to KABINETT’s overarching mission and artistic taste. KABINETT aims to provide a collaborative creative experience for artists and art lovers alike. It provides an online space for artists, animators, musicians and filmmakers to showcase their work and to connect with and support each other.
What has the response been since the release of the video?
The response has been (not surprisingly) extremely positive. On social media, in the press and on the KABINETT website, viewers have praised the work for its artistic and musical merit and ingenuity. There have been several features in notable media outlets and online magazines. The views keep increasing and we expect our next Juana Molina feature to be just as much of a success.
Any future plans to work with Juana Molina again that you can speak of?
It is our hope that we will have the opportunity to work with Juana Molina again in the near future, though our upcoming collaboration is something we are very excited to unveil. The expected release date for this video will likely fall in the beginning of the new year, right at the end of the holiday season.
Are there any other notable artists you are currently working with for exclusive premieres?
We just completed an exclusive interview series with Deepak Chopra, who discusses his latest book, Meta Human. We are also working with the Fundación Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, as they donated a very important group of Latin American Art works to the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA). With them we are preparing to release a series of works produced by the foundation, most of which focus on the contributions of Venezuela to modern art. This series of videos is to accompany the exhibition Sur Moderno, on view now at MoMA. We will also be releasing short film works provided by the Mary Pickford foundation, which have contemporary soundtracks, written and arranged by up and coming composers. As well as these large partnerships, we will be releasing works in association with the French animation production company, Autour de Minuit. Other videos coming soon also include productions we did with El Pampero Cine, as well as in-house productions, featuring artists like Patti Smith and Charlotte Kemp Muhl.
If there is one artist whom you yourself wish to work with- whether in film, music, etc –who is that artist and why?
We would love to work with Lucretia Martel on a collaborative short film. She is another Argentine female artist who continues to produce remarkable works after a long lifetime of various artistic achievements. Her most recent work is also very much in line with the mission and meaning behind KABINETT, which is why we believe it would be a fitting partnership.
How would you consider KABINETT especially unique and different compared to other streaming apps?
KABINETT is not aiming to provide endless content for its user’s, rather the focus is on curated, short-format works within the arts, film and music. The pieces we release in the Screening Room could very well be featured in a real, physical gallery or art space. In this way, KABINETT is selective in its process of curating. We are not looking to flood screens with content that is high budget or primarily entertaining. We want to present a unique selection of intellectually and emotionally stimulating works that take part in social and political discourse.
How does KABINETT plan to expand on the visibility of future releases?
KABINETT is preparing for a relaunch and update of its desktop, mobile and app interfaces. At this time we will be initiating stronger and more visible digital marketing campaigns, while pursuing partnerships with other notable figures in the arts and media. Also one of our main goals is to continue producing and featuring exclusive works, both from established and emerging artists in any discipline.
Watch “Paraguay Punk” on KABINETT here: