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What's Up With Masstropicas ?



Masstropicas releases official reissues and archival finds of Peruvian music from the 60s and 70s. The label is run out of Pittsfield, MA and distributed by Light In The Attic out of Portland, OR. We had the chance to discuss with the label founder, Mike P., who cooked a special mix for us, and answered a few questions about each of his releases….

Masstropicas Discography


2008 TROPIC 01 - What's up with 'Cumbia Delincuencial', a limited numbered edition 7 inch of Peruvian band Los Chapillacs? You decided to start your 'reissued and archival' label with some 'modern psychedelic cumbia' or what?
"Yes, I first saw a photo of the band playing and said ‘I need to hear them’ and they were great! The 7 inch was to help them break ground outside of Peru and what better way to do it than on 45. From what I’m told it’s the first cumbia from Peru released on vinyl in 25-30 years."




2009 TROPIC 02 - What's up with 'Vacation 1', a limited edition grey marbled vinyl LP from the distortion-centric duo Green Mansions ‎you started with a guy from Denmark?
"Green Mansions is a multi-media project with Peter Bonneman from Denmark, we have tons of material recorded that is soon to be released. That 12 inch was limited to 150 copies and handed out to friends, we also have a lathe-cut 7 inch with a cover of Rising Tides 'TAKE THE WORLD AS IT COMES'. We will soon tour the US and Scandinavia along with a movie we are working on."


2010 TROPIC 03 - What's up with 'El Espectacular Sonido De Carlos Antonio', a cassette release from a Peruvian one man band you recorded in Lima?!
"That cassette was recorded on my 2nd trip to Peru. I had seen a photo of him that limafotolibre.com took and went and watched him play. I recorded him on a digi-hand recorder. I have over an hour of unreleased material, I hope to see him again soon."




'2011 TROPIC 04 - What's up with up with Ranil's Jungle Party', the compilation from Ranil Y Su Conjunto Tropical released on a limited LP (100 copies)? Was that the real beginning of your journey into 1970s Peru?
"That is a collaboration with La Cumbia de Mis Viejos which was the very first re-issue project I did. I think that LP came out very solid and Ranil was also just as pleased. It opened up the doors for Masstropicas as a re-issue label."




2011 TROPIC 05/06 - What's up with up with 'El Sonido De Tupac Amaru' old school Peruvian cumbia compilation released as a limited LP and bonus 7 inch?
"That compilation was planned long before Ranil's Jungle Party was ever planned. I heard most of those songs on an amazing radio station called Radio Comas in the area of Lima where my family lives. The main strip is called Tupac Amaru which I thought was amazing. It took 3 years to produce that LP. The Centeno 7" that comes with it contains 4 different songs sung by Carlos Ramirez who has been in at least 20 different bands."




2011 TROPIC 07 ‎– What's up with up with 'El Destape', a limited edition re-release of 1974 Peruvian Cumbia LP from Grupo 2000?
"El Destape is truly a lost gem, written and recorded in the span of year in 1973. Sad to say the master tapes were a wreck and had to be re-worked on two times before we received the sound we wanted. Tulio Trigoso the founder of the band still plays to this day as well in Sonido 2000 de Tarapoto, check out video's on Youtube."






2012 TROPIC 08 - What's up with up with the 'Cantos Icaros' 100 copies cassette release? Shamanic music from the Peruvian forest?
"Placido the bass player and band leader of Sensacion Shipibo let us record him singing those songs but said it was only for personal use. He ran into some problems with his home so I released it to raise a little money to help him out."




2012 TROPIC 09/10 - What's up with 'Los Creadores Del Sonido De La Carretera Central', a 500 copies LP and 45 release from Los Jharis De Ñaña? Once again a one-time pressing only?
"Los Jharis may be one of my favorite groups from Peru, they defined a rawer sound on so many young groups in the '80s the same way Los Destellos did for Peruvian cumbia in general in the '70s. The 45 is from an amazing group from Pucallpa who play a style all their own called cumbia-MASHA. Masha being the music of the Shipbo Indians."




2012 TROPIC 11 - What's up with 'Cocinando', a reissue of a great 1970s Peru lost LP from Martin López Y Sus Estrellas?
"Martin Lopez sand in Grupo Naranja and I met up with him to interview him and he handed me a CDR of this. I had never seen it before or heard it. It is a very historic record based on the fact that it had the MAG all-stars playing on it but was shelved due to its late release in '71. They had started recording it in '69 but was not finished until '70 due to it being a studio only production, band members kept switching."




2013 TROPIC 12 - What's up with 'El Sonido De La Carretera Central', a LP compilation from composer/arranger Teo Laura Amao? Still strictly limited to 500 copies, no repress?
"That is the release I'm most proud of… It took 4 years to make, Teo Laura and the bands he played in have the hardest sound when it comes to cumbia in Peru. That record is culled from various 45s, LPs and cassettes. Limafotolibe's design work on that is extraordinary. 500 copies only, no repress. Get it or miss it."



2013/2014 - What's next for Masstropicas?
"I'm taking a break but I'm slowly working on another release with Teo Laura and Los Jharis. It's most likely going to be a 7 inch EP with 4 songs. Thanks for the interview."


Links :
blogspot | discogs | lightintheattic | youtube
The masstropicas collective includes the following people:
MIKE P (Masstropicas Records, MASS. US), Victor (La Cumbia de Mis Viejos, Perú), Renato (Los Chapillacs, Perú), Fokus


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