Frontier Life Banda Sonora

Frontier Life is the name of a film by San Diego avant-garde composer and filmmaker Fjellestad, in which the multi-faceted artist attempts to capture the subterranean world of Tijuana, Mexico beyond the surface textures and superficial "aura of menace" associated with the city across the border from a rather (some might say menacing) wealthy northern neighbour. Borders are always visually and aurally interesting places to explore the osmosis of ideas and exchange of goods - a process that's not always reciprocal. Here, the Trummerflora Collective in San Diego - to which Fjellestad belongs - collaborate with the Nortec Collective from Tijuana, previously known for bringing together rare, experimental sound creators marrying Tex-Mex sounds with traditional norteno music. This project aspires to redress the imbalances of cultural production and exchange in its own modest way. The tracks are remarkably minimalist, feeling more like visual tableaux than set compositions. It pleasantly throws one off, in terms of what might be typically expected of a documentary about porous borders and dusty Mexican cities. "Bullets for Ballots" is a rather Negativland-like composition with its aural commentary in Spanish, piano tinkerings and pitter-patter electronic sounds. "El Animal" is suggestive of the norteno-techno sounds of the Tijuana collective. "Palacio" has an oddly naïve cadence with its steady beats and fairy-tale sparkling sounds. It is like letting a toddler loose on a Moog synthesizer and hearing the surprising, delightful results. This is seriously experimental territory and so curious in parts, it makes one want to watch the documentary. A good effect, undoubtedly and a sign of more delightful things to come from the Nortec collective. (Accretions)