Algodón Egipcio
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Algodón Egipcio

Caracas, Venezuela | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE

Caracas, Venezuela | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2010
Duo Electronic Pop




"10 Best Latin Albums of 2016"

Venezuela's Cheky Bertho has been making brightly colored ambient-folk under the Algodón Egipcio moniker since 2010, and La Confianza Ciega finds him incorporating house and hip-hop elements into his trademark sound. The result is his most vibrant collection of hazy electronic anthems yet. Opener "El Calor Especifico" is a joyous slice of chillwave, and easily the year's best song about thermodynamics. "La Estrella Irregular" and "El Olvido" are headphone-friendly jams fit for the beach as much as the bedroom, while "La Lectura Fundamental" goes harder than Russell Westbrook driving to the rim. The vocals stand at the front of the mix – meaning the lyrics not only enhance the melancholic productions, but serve as a forceful guide for each track. For Algodón Egipcio, beauty and brawn go hand-in-hand. A.C. - Rolling Stone

"Algodón Egipcio - La Confianza Ciega Review"

Since releasing his critically embraced debut La Lucha Constante in 2011, Cheky Bertho, who records as Algodón Egipcio, has released remix EPs and covers, as well as various one-offs and the recent single “Multiestabilidad.” He’s also relocated from his politically turbulent native city of Caracas to Mexico City. Now, after several years, he’s followed up his first full-length with a second album that is both unexpected and everything fans of his experimental electronic pop could have hoped for.

It’s titled La Confienza Ciega, but its lyrics deal mainly with a crisis of faith, or maybe its aftermath. The songs revolve around themes of loss: loss of control, of illusions, of what once was. The words probe the human heart, while hinting at parallels between the big and small in human affairs. A plea to put down weapons on the exquisitely tender “Las Armas” sounds like a call to a friend or lover to lower their guard, but it could also allude to something larger. Adding another layer of possible meaning, song titles like “El Ciclo De Agua” make reference to the natural sciences, and elements of the material world make frequent appearances as foils and metaphors.

Abundant as its lyrical complexities are, Bertho’s sophomore effort may be even more musically rich. The clean vocals are full of emotion; the compositions – more melodic and structured than his past work – are equally lucid, though the rawness and sense of exploration of La Lucha Constante is present throughout. Though there’s a genuine pop appeal and a marked maturity here, in some ways it’s more experimental than anything he’s done before.

“El Calor Especifico” and sole single “La Estrella Irregular” begin the album with a burst of energy channeled through Afro-Caribbean inspired rhythms and steel drum synths that shiver and bubble, shudder and glitch. “Los Deseos” lurches and sways, its staggering beat punctuated by guitar, marimba, shattering glass and plain noise. “La Lectura Fundamental” is reminiscent of El Guincho‘s Pop Negro, but more propulsive. Where Pop Negro drifted and whorled, these songs are headed somewhere.

Tropical electronic music is not a new concept, but Bertho sounds like he started from square one – reaching this point independently, a conclusion arrived at in the quiet of one’s own room. He isn’t simply fitting existing African and Latin rhythms into a bass music lexicon; he’s seeking out new ones. The first half of the album is driven by not-quite champeta, near dembow, and clave interrupted. It’s the sound of something fundamental persisting valiantly despite a faulty connection, ultimately reaching its destination in a new form.

While it very much feels like a part of a time and place in Bertho’s life, La Confianza Ciega has all the hallmarks of a document destined to age extremely well. While there are individual standouts – “La Estrella Irregular” becomes indelible after a handful of listens – things stay interesting from start to finish. The album is frontloaded with the single-worthy material, but rather than peter out into lesser tracks that barely made the cut, it progresses into increasingly abstract essays in rhythm more reminiscent of his debut. “El Ciclo de Agua” explores melodic maximalism in a style that can only be described as lo-fi drum and bass and the fascinating and soulful penultimate track “Las Gotas Plateadas” is, more than all the others, a harmonious but lovingly handmade sound collage.

Despite the lyrical content and cerebral approach, the album is anything but difficult to listen to. The emotional arc bends mostly upward. The crisp production creates a sensation of spaciousness and each track seems saturated in daylight. Synths swell with joy on even the most troubled songs, and melodies rise slowly and steadily like hot air balloons, while the loping beats and constantly shifting audio environment mimic the feeling of walking confidently and smilingly toward an uncertain future.

La Confianza Ciega ends on a particularly bright note with the upbeat “La Dunas Cantoras,” which marvels quasi religiously at the natural world and returns to the neo-Caribbeanisms of the first half of the album. Its placement was intended to make a strong closing statement: Living without illusions does not necessarily mean being pessimistic. - Remezcla

"Algodón Egipcio - "Multiestabilidad" Track Review"

When he’s not writing charming freak folk ballads as one half of Jóvenes y Sexys, or touring with Mexican pop ensemble Torreblanca, Venezuelan singer-songwriter Cheky Bertho commands the mixing board as Algodón Egipcio. (Or, Egyptian Cotton.) Four years after his debut, La Lucha Constante, Bertho gives us a taste of his next effort in "Multiestabilidad". What’s otherwise a heavily postmodernist meditation is buried beneath a glitchy patchwork of samples mined from Multistability, the 2010 album by the visionary British producer Mark Fell.
"How can it be wrong? If what I perceive to me is real?" Bertho gently muses, "Many faces that feel an illusion, all under the same sun." With surgical precision, he constructs a crystalline ziggurat of noise, each prismatic building block cracking under the pressure of each sound that follows. Fault lines become valleys, spilling into an array of warm tones. As scientific as his method is, Bertho’s ode to the multiplicity of reality is quite comforting. The fragments, discordant as they seem at first, fall neatly into place, clean as an expertly-played game of Tetris. - Pitchfork

"Algodón Egipcio - "Multiestabilidad" Track Review"

Mexico via Venezuela musician Ezequiel Bertho (aka Algodón Egipcio) is taking his sweet time to come out with the follow up album to his critically-acclaimed work La Lucha Constante, but lately he has been giving us a few gems to listen to while he’s finishing his next opus. Earlier this year, we got Canta: Lefse Records, a tribute to his favorite songs from many of his labelmates. Now he’s one-upping the ante with a brand new song.

“Multiestabilidad” is a song inspired by Mark Fell’s 2010 album Multistability, released by the cult electronic label Raster-Noton. It’s also a prominent source of many of the sounds Bertho uses to craft his song, which he has mangled and warped to his own liking. Instead of doing a straight up copy of Fell’s style to pay tribute, Algodón Egipcio has taken what he likes from it, compacted it into a 3:03 song, and injected it with many more elements to bring us something entirely different, while still sounding like he’s paying homage to his source material.

The song exploits the glitchy nature of Multistability to bring us a backing track that never seems to settle down into a groove, bringing sounds that tickle our fancy with each passing second. On top of it all, Bertho croons a sing-along melody and some heartfelt lyrics. The second half of the song is dancier, taking its cues from Chicago juke. Algodón Egipcio excels at crafting experimental and difficult electronic music that’s hard to grasp if you’re not too familiar with this kind of music. But he can easily turn it into something poppy and memorable. As if that weren’t enough, he makes fractured synths and textures into an irresistible dance party. Few can achieve — let alone master — one of these things; Bertho can do all of them magnificently in a single song. Not to mention the fact that he does it all in a little over three minutes, although he’s basically making a synthesis of a whole album.

“Multiestabilidad” was released in anticipation of Algodón Egipcio’s participation in the Pop Montreal festival on Friday, September 18, where he will share the stage with the likes of Will Butler (Arcade Fire) and many others. Of course, keep your eyes open for more info on his forthcoming album. - Remezcla

"NPR Music's 100 Favorite Songs of 2012"

Algodon Egipcio, "La Espina Del Cardenche"
The Venezuelan DJ's ethereal ode to "cardenche," a northern Mexican music style whose name itself (a reference to pulling out a painful cactus thorn) is full of emotion. - NPR

"Algodón Egipcio - La Lucha Constante Review"

How awful is it that I’m going to compare Venezuelan electro-pop musician Ezequiel “Cheky” Bertho (who goes by Algodón Egipcio, meaning, perhaps inconsequentially, “Egyptian Cotton”) to Spanish electro-pop musician El Guincho? Pretty awful, I think. I’m contributing to the surplus of middle-class, white, English-speaking North American males who attempt, via this problematic medium of independent music criticism, to decipher some specificity from these albums that make their way, without context or background, to our inboxes. How can I provide detail for the reader? How can I write about music, largely incomprehensible to me, like dancing about architecture? The two artists are both Spanish-speaking, but live on opposite ends of the planet. Is there any value at all in the comparison? Deep breath: I’m going to argue yes.

This kind of music—semi-minimalist, atmospheric, occasionally broaching the border between pop and ambient (as Bertho does on “Los Párpados Caídos”), and drenched liberally in delay and reverb—is near ubiquitous. There are plenty of North American equivalents: the Big Pink, Young Marble Giants, Animal Collective, Papa M, maybe a lil’ Interpol, the xx, and, oh, I don’t know, Peter Bjorn and John. Groups of kids approaching their dinner-party years will find much use for this sort of effortlessly listenable music. But it’s not the resemblance to any of these perfectly likeable bands; my best go-to comparison is still another Spanish-speaking electro-pop musician because, like the English-speaking lummox I am, I’m fixating on language here.

Add another assumption to a damnable list: that you, the reader, might also not speak Spanish. So, should self-conscious stereotyping ever be allowed to be put aside (it shouldn’t), I’m acknowledging that what might make this album interesting for my English-speaking readers is the phonetic loveliness of hearing such a beautiful language sung over such beautiful music. The reason why you should listen to La Lucha Constante before listening to, say, whatever next month’s new bedroom dreamgaze project will be, is because it affords the opportunity to consider how much English music depends on rote, nonsensical strings of moodily evocative but otherwise useless language, and how not being able to understand that language would benefit the music in question. Consider the following line from the xx’s single “Crystalised”: “Things have gotten closer to the sun / And I’ve done things in small doses / So don’t think that I’m pushing you away / When you’re the one I’ve kept closest.” There are a number of ways in which these lyrics are terrible, despite the band’s achingly smooth and knowingly stylized delivery. They outright ruin a song I hadn’t felt strongly about one way or another. Now compare it to the following, from Algodón Egipcio’s gorgeous “La Transformación”:

Garras, dientes, se defiende
No te deja ver, nadie puede leerle

En su dieta hay prejuicios
hierbas varias, delirios

Esto no lo había visto
ni en revistas ni en libros

Is it unreasonable for me to say that the context of my uncomprehending listening elevates Bertho’s music euphonically above that of so many cliché North American bands? That not only does he benefit from an inverse relationship between lyrics and music than what I’m interpreting from a band like the xx, but that the inverse can be acknowledged as a reason to seek out the album? Is all of that unfair to Bertho, who went out of his way to write some lyrics that I assume are meaningful to him?

At the not-insignificant risk of exoticizing an actual human being or making him an object of North American materialism, I’m going to suggest that there is a phonoaesthetic superiority to this album, introduced, in part, by the fact that non-Spanish-speaking listeners are forced to consider the arrangement of phonetic components rather than their representational role as language. I’ll stop short of arguing that there is inherent beauty in any one language. But simply put, to not understand what Bertho is saying is to allow oneself access to evocation otherwise clumsily squashed, as evidenced by the xx and their ham-handed attempts at metaphor. I don’t endorse the content of this music (though knowing a little bit of Italian, I can guess at some of the profundity Bertho is attempting with “La Transformación” and “La Condición [La Prueba A]”), but I do suggest that there is value in unilingual listeners exploring the considerable international parameters of their preferred aesthetic, to include those albums performed in other languages in their listening patterns. Bertho utilizes loops, textures, noise, and electronics to beautiful effect, but it’s when those components are combined with his language that this music begins to resemble something with appeal to an English-speaker who, frankly, has heard all of this before.

Of course the same principle can be applied to a Spanish-speaking listener who might appreciate the drawl of the xx’s singers’ delivery and the carefully assembled components of their album, and never know or not care about how bad those lyrics are. This, like all of my reviews, will make no attempt at comprehensive representation. The theory is full of holes already—consider the number of Spanish speakers in North America, for example, and my lazy arrangement of people into geographical locations. But my local, subjective truth—what Rorty called sincere ethnocentrism—puts this very album in front of me and demands that I consider an interpretation of its worth. And so the following banal statement takes on some loaded quality: if you’re like me, you’ll probably love La Lucha Constante. - Cokemachine Glow



Algodón Egipcio - La Confianza Ciega 
(Arts & Crafts Mexico/Ponk, 2016)

Algodón Egipcio - Multiestabilidad (Self-Released, 2015)

Algodón Egipcio - La Lucha Constante (Lefse Records, 2011)
CD, Digital

Algodón Egipcio - Los Remixes de La Lucha Constante (Lefse Records, 2012)

Algodón Egipcio - Canta: Lefse Records (Self-Released, 2015)

Algodón Egipcio / El Faro - Split 7” (Acuarela / Yoyó Industrias / Club Social, 2012)
7", Digital

Male Bonding - Nothing Remains EP (Paradise Vendors Inc / Sub Pop, 2010)
Track 4: Weird Feelings (Algodón Egipcio Version)

María y José - Violentao (Cocobass, 2010)
Track 7: Violentao (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

Jóvenes y Sexys - Bruno EP (KU DE TA, 2011)
Track B4: El Reloj (Algodón Egipcio Remix)
12", Digital

El Columpio Asesino - Toro Remixes (Mushroom Pillow, 2011)
Track 2: Toro (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

She's a Tease - Genio de los Deseos Remixes (NWLA, 2011)
Track 2: Genio de los Deseos (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

El Sueño de la Casa Propia - Historial de Caídas Remixes (Pueblo Nuevo, 2011)
Track 3: Cortina de Humo (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

Andrea Balency Trio - Lover EP (1+1 BPM, 2012)
Track 5: Mizraïm (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

V.A. - Plásticos y Etéreos (Revista Plástica, 2012)
Track 5: La Conducta Original

V.A. - Norte Sonoro EP 1 (Nrmal, 2012)
Track 1: La Espina del Cardenche

Wild Honey - Fake Horoscopes EP (Lovemonk, 2012)
Track 2: Kings of Tomorrow (Algodón Egipcio Remix)
7", Digital

V.A. - The Nablus Project (International Tapes / Coco’s OCD, 2012)
Track 2: La Plegaria

V.A. - Mosquita y Mari (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Cosmica, 2012)
Track 7: El Día Previo

V.A. - Serge Gainsbourg Degenerado (Revista 69, 2012)
Track 1: Color Café (Serge Gainsbourg Cover)

Torkelsen - Don't Care Remixed (SellOut!, 2012)
Track 5: Don't Care (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

Throes + The Shine - Hoje é Festa (Lovers & Lollypops, 2012)
Track 1: Hoje é Festa (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

Mariachi El Bronx - Revolution Girls Remixes (ATO Records, 2012)
Track 2: Revolution Girls (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

Fakuta - Al Suelo (Self-Released, 2013)
Track 2: Las Partes (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

Foot Village - Fuck The Future II (Mirror Universe Tapes, 2013)
Track 15: Lovers With Iraqis (Algodón Egipcio Remix)
Tape, Digital

V.A. - Proyecto Remix Vol. 2 (Revista DDA, 2013)
Track 8: Presidente - Noche (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

Fernando Milagros - San Sebastián Remixes Vol. 1 (Evolución Discos, 2013)
Track 1: Soltar (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

Extraperlo - Delirio Específico (Canadá Editorial / Casete, 2014)
Track 10: Fina Vanidad (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

Cineplexx - Florianopolis Remix (Nueva Hola Records, 2014)
Track 1: Bailar (Algodón Egipcio Remix)

V.A. - A Guide to the Birdsong of Latin America (Rhythm and Roots, 2015)
Track 6: Cotorra del Sol
12", Digital

V.A. - Contemplaciones: Homenaje Iberoamericano a Jeanette (Plastilina Records, 2015)
Track 22: No Digas Nada (Jeanette Cover)



Algodón Egipcio is the musical project of Venezuela-born, Mexico-based producer Ezequiel "Cheky" Bertho. In 2016, he released La Confianza Ciega (Arts & Crafts Mexico/Ponk,) the follow-up to his debut album La Confianza Ciega (Lefse Records, 2011.) It's an album with numerous layers that reveal themselves with every listen, plagued with synthetic textures and unexpected song structures that defy pop music's traditional vocabulary, but keeping its memorable quality through melody. It’s a diverse, fresh, and exciting album that adopts elements from various places, like R&B, Afro-house, noise, Caribbean music, experimental electronic music, and more, producing a particular sound. Taking personal experiences and the unavoidable decomposing reality of his home country, Venezuela, as inspiration, Cheky faces emotions like hope, disappointment, nostalgia, etc., on the lyrics. It was highlighted on year-end lists made by publications like Rolling Stone, Remezcla, and KEXP.

He has toured Spain, Portugal, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, and Venezuela, participating in both big festivals like Primavera Sound, SXSW, Pop Montréal, Festival Nrmal, Tanned Tin, Día de la Música Heineken, El Mapa de Todos, Festival Marvin, etc, and small venues. He also has an extensive work as a remixer, putting out over 25 remixes of tracks by Mariachi El Bronx, Las Robertas, Dominant Legs, Foot Village, Extraperlo, Andrea Balency, El Columpio Asesino, María y José, and many more. His music has been featured on films and TV commercials, like the Sundance-premiered Mosquita y Mari and the Bing Originals campaign. In 2016, he participated on the first-ever Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp in Santiago de Chile.

Press Quotes:

"La Confianza Ciega is haunting, strangely lovely, and one of the strongest musical statements of the year." Beverly Bryan, Remezcla - December 2016

“Algodón  Egipcio  excels  at  crafting  experimental  and  difficult  electronic  music  that’s  hard  to  grasp  if you’re  not  too  familiar  with  this  kind  of  music.  But  he  can  easily  turn  it  into  something  poppy  and memorable. As if that weren’t enough, he makes fractured synths and textures into an irresistible dance party. Few can achieve —let alone master— one of these things; Bertho can do all of them magnificently in a single song.”
Marcos Hassan, Remezcla – September 2015

“One  of  my  favorite  reinterpretations  of  Canto  Cardenche  is  by  Venezuelan  DJ  Algodon  Egipcio.  His rendition of ‘La Espina Del Cardenche’ adds instrumentation to the traditionally a cappella music, but it's minimal and ethereal. Rather than sounding like a music track under vocals, it simply sounds like a man floating in the clouds, singing his heart out.”
Jasmine Garsd, NPR – May 2013

“For me,  ‘La Espina del Cardenche’  illustrates why music matters, in this specific era. It showcases the skill of Ezequiel Bertho, a young producer from Venezuela known as solo act Algodón Egipcio, whose work is proof of the excellent talent coming out of Latin America. But it also represents the hybridization of music via the internet, and the union of traditional and contemporary sounds.”
Moni Saldaña, The Fader – December 2012

“La Lucha Constante  is touching, heroic, & disorienting, where even the cloudy tracks are triumphant. Cheky’s  dislocating treatment of the medium as both, mechanism & text, sum up to a radiant slice of selective nature. La Lucha Constante is 2011’s wildflower, also, one of the year’s best albums.” 
Carlos Reyes, Club Fonograma – March 2011 (90/100)

“It’s good, dynamic pop, with an undercurrent of maturity and grace. A beautifully scripted album, and one  that  really  allows  you  get  to  know the  man  behind  the  moniker.  […]  Cheky  manages  to  create a relaxed  intimacy  in  his  music  that  envelopes  your  mind  into  a  conversation  that  bridges  language barriers. Who needs to speak in dialogue when you can converse with the medium of music?” 
Gina Louise, The Line of the Best Fit – March 2011 (RECOMMENDED) 

Band Members