You stay strange, San Diego

Strange as they wanna be, Marcelo and “Bugs” made a record.
  • Strange as they wanna be, Marcelo and “Bugs” made a record.

Marcelo Radulovich’s Titicacaman Records has heralded 14 releases, including 8 of his own solo albums and various collaborations. Of the top-selling titles, “Nicey Nice World and the Playground Slap are about tied. Nicey Nice World because we were out playing and exposing the music when the album came out, and the Playground Slap because of the history and old connections.”

The former band has featured Radulovich with Jim Call (Penetrators), Joyce Rooks (Dinettes), Joey Carano (Ian Tordella), Bill Ray (Ike Turner), and Henry Wessman (Wit, Nathan Hubbard), while the Slap full-length included the original lineup plus guitarist Mike Keneally.

Most Titicacaman releases take almost scientific delight in melding experimental industrial noise with remarkably traditional (if deconstructed/reconstructed) classic-rock riffage. “There’s a healthy experimental music scene in San Diego and lots of artists exploring new territories, in bars and in academia,” says Radulovich, “The Trummerflora Collective helped feed the adventurous music scene between 2000 and 2009-ish, with people like Sam Lopez and [his] Stay Strange [events], who joined the collective toward its end, and Bonnie Wright, who these days continues to put on events on a regular basis. More venues like the Tin Can and Space 4 Art are very supportive. It’s a beautiful and curious thing, everyone feeding it from various angles. A hotbed, for sure.”

Radulovich recently released the full-length Nohayquepreocuparsepornada. “I’ve been working on this thing on and off for the past ten years.... The album features drumming by an old friend from Mexico — Enrique ‘Bugs’ Gonzalez, who now plays with Los Lobos.

“It sort of encompasses the various styles and explorations of the various Titicacaman artists and projects...there’s a bit of rock, noise, quirky pop, funk, drone, no-time-signature ambience, shades of jazz, acoustic and electric, all wrapped up and served as songs, with surreal stories and observations as lyrics, in English and Spanish, [since] Enrique is from Mexico, and I’m from Chile.”

When Gonzales showed up at Radulovich’s Cardiff studio, “He had the songs charted out and really impressed me with his musical sensibility and his perfect sense of timing. He was playing to click tracks. If he sped up or slowed down, it would show, so hearing him do obscenely creative and elaborate drum rolls and transitions is an extra treat when you put it in perspective.

“His performance was so stellar that I had to work extra hard, so my parts wouldn’t suck in comparison.”

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