One to Watch: Carlota

Good things undoubtedly come in threes, and with a hat-trick of songs hanging like virtual badges of honour on Spotify (and one other release soon to make the move from Bandcamp to the streaming platform), Carlota Marques and her electronic co-dependents are most definitely a good thing.  

Born on the Balearic Island of Ibiza, music and its more technical aspects were early indulgences for Carlota. This fascination took her to university to study sound engineering, where she developed her own musical language, and, finally, to Berlin, the home of electronic experimentation, SchneidersLaden workshops and 24-hour club culture. It was here that she found a home amongst other musicians similarly infatuated by electronic music, including Steph Lefrancois (also known as Halosaur) – a DJ with whom she has joined forces with under the alias Kitmun to create robust live jungle beats amongst a forest of wires – and the revered Nina Kraviz, who consequently signed her to her label трип (translated as “Trip”). While of course this is an oversimplification of Carlota’s lifetime for the sake of an overview, this producer’s continual search for technical knowledge and collaboration has allowed for the creation of some of the most audially complex and sophisticated music to have come out of the underground techno scene in the last few years. 

Carlota’s approach to music in itself sets her apart from her peers. While others are trying to conquer a subtle layering within their mixes, Carlota is decisive and unapologetic in the musical pathways she chooses. Allowing the energy within her modular synthesiser to rule supreme over her heart, she diffuses her human agency through a machine to create a futuristic Frankenstein’s monster of composition in the most wonderful way. In the words of her RA bio, she is the “selfless conductor of an analog orchestra”. 

Similarly unusual is the fact that Carlota is in no rush to bring her music into the public sphere. Preferring to leave her musical breadcrumbs within this world of musical abundance, she’s only released snippets of her talent as part of mixtapes with her steadfast label and peers. The latest entitled Requiems for Refuge Vol. 2 released by Unrush (to Bandcamp on February 10th, with all the proceeds going to help4people in Berlin) shows a completely different (and unexpected) side to the producer as she adds new timbres to her repertoire in breezy guitars, echoing her Balearic upbringing against familiar synthesised repetitions. A heritage that is also briefly explored within the intro to the recently released ‘locus error’, a track with an addictively centralised beat. 

It is perhaps for her two tracks in Happy New Year! We Wish You Happiness! for which Carlota is most known. The standout ‘Your Destination’ is a minimal techno lullaby whose beats slip peacefully through futuristic frequencies. Echoing deeply of Berlin culture, the underground beats remain constant as the sample drifts off into silence, struggling to make the call of “you have now reached your destination”. Carlota allows the listener to relax and simultaneously feel trapped listening to the tune, unable to turn it off. 

Much of Carlota’s musical capabilities are still a tantalising mystery outside of Berlin. Even within the hotbed of Soundcloud, her live sets remain like stardust. With only a couple of long mixes hiding about, you have to make the most of what you can find (which isn’t hard when even her live sets are as cleanly produced in the moment as they would be in the studio). These rare delights illustrate just how well Carlota can inject her technically perfect music with endorphins and momentum when interacting with a crowd. Yet with the summer approaching, and DJ’s being invited all over the world to showcase their skills, it’s unsurprising that you can catch Carlota in full flow at the electronic industrial eutopia that is Junction 2 Festival in June. Until then, all we can hope for is more releases to subdue the Carlota craving and to wake the world up to what this woman can do with just her passion, modular synthesiser and technical know-how.

If you’d like to find out more about Carlota you can follow her via Facebook, Soundcloud and Instagram. Her latest track ‘Cyclical Rapture’ as part of The Unrush Tapes – Requiems for Refuge Vol. 2 is available via Bandcamp.

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Image courtesy of Resident Advisor.