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Panoptica

b. Robert Mendoza, Tijuana, Mexico. Citing inspiration from the roosters that wake him every morning and claiming his PC as his most important tool, Mendoza finds the shared aesthetics between house, techno, breakbeat, dub and traditional Mexican music. He is closely associated with Nortec, the loose collective of Tijuana-based musicians (including Murcof, Ruisort and Loopdrop) whose electronica incorporates elements of popular traditional Mexican music. This electronic rethinking of traditional music is often derived from samples of tapes sold by bands of local street musicians: fragments of barely recognizable 12-string guitars, tubas and snares are coalesced into the most intriguing of techno. ‘I like lots of Mexican music from folkloric to popular, but the music that very much rules the north of Mexico is Norteno and Banda. They are the two most popular and regional styles of music, and that’s what you hear everywhere, even if you don’t want to. Because we grew up with it, it’s easy for us to incorporate into what we do in electronic music.’ Mendoza explained to DJ magazine. ‘The little taqueria shops, the donkey painted like a zebra, the big pick-up trucks, the narcos and the judiciales, the massive grupero concerts, ’ listed Mendoza, in Silicon Alley Reporter magazine, ‘All of that is what makes this city so special and so bizarre for outsiders. We’re recycling our environment electronically: we filter the rhythms with software plug-ins, we sample the tuba and create another kind of melody from it.’

In 2002, Panoptica released The Tijuana Remixes, a collection of reconfigured versions of Panoptica tracks. The inventory of artists remodelling Panoptica recordings notably included Fussible, of whom Mendoza had previously been a member. The collection also featured tracks re-worked by Bostich, Hyperboreal and Panoptica himself as well as a new recording ‘She’s In Fiestas’, a collaboration with former Bauhaus bass-player David Jay.
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