The opening of Futuro, the first track on Puppies in the Sun’s debut album Buh Records light becomes light, is a huge synth-heavy march. It sounds like a fanfare for the exploding world. It is distinctive and unique, but also familiar.
I spent days in an irritating name-the-melody spiral before figuring out where I’d heard it before. It’s an oddball anti-pop double of the largely (and unfairly) forgotten 2005 R&B singer Shareefa with her debut single “Need a Boss.” Ludacris has a great guest verse in the massive, resonant Darkchild production.
So was an experimental noise duo directly inspired by Ludacris, who declared some 17 years ago: “Grown women feel me/And they have nothing to lose but their virginity”? Anything is possible, but I would doubt it. The sound echo is not evidence of direct interference. But it’s a reminder of how global electronic music, popular or otherwise, has converged over the last several decades.
Puppies in the Sun consists of Alberto Cendra on synthesizers and Cristóbal Pereira on drums. They are both from Peru, where they have been friends since childhood. They met again by chance in Barcelona and now live in Rotterdam. light becomes light was recorded in Madrid.
The short track “What Galaxies Will You Be Staring At” leans all the way into the galactic nebula before falling overboard in delightful slow motion. There’s a meandering piano beneath the synth washes and cymbal rolls while someone gives the English recitation: “What Galaxies will you be starring at… I am alone now, and I don’t know my way home.” “Hanging Heavens” and “Star, The Time Has Come, You Are Ready” is extended journeys into the ambient pulse and a sweaty, freaky vision quest.
Other tracks steer out of the stars and onto the dance floor. “Raging, They Came To Dance” is basically what the title says; the beat segues into the boom-boom-boom of techno thumping while the synths wail like sirens. “A Very Short Trip Around a Supervoid” is more relaxed, somewhere between drifting towards the sun and dancing in the sunless early morning hours. You could see it being played in a club, although the tightly stacked bodies all swayed rather than flailed.
“Light Became Light” is the roughest track. The drums rattle and scratch at the beginning, and the electronic strobe effect of the synths borders on the feedback of power electronics. “On the day the prophets were born, light became light,” murmurs a voice. It still sounds like you’ve lifted off the earth, but this time it feels like the earth exploded.
But again, the connections to radio and pop aren’t hard to hear; the opening drum figure is reminiscent of Dave Grohl’s intro to Nirvana’s “Scentless Apprentice”. Puppies in the Sun won’t be the next Kurt Cobain or Darkchild, and Cendra and Pereira don’t like being compared to more commercial acts. But who becomes the more commercial act has in many ways more to do with marketing and position within the industry than the sound coming through your headphones and/or through your speakers and/or from the cosmic movement of the spheres. light became light is otherworldly in a pleasantly familiar way. The music that greets you on the outer edge of the experience will tear you apart.