Earlier this week, Mexico City was struck by an 7.1-magnitude earthquake that destroyed an immense amount of homes and businesses and took the lives of 273 people. Already stories of communitarian efforts to provide relief have come in the wake of the disaster, and even in the music industry people have started to come together to give support. Among those offering help is the Mexican experimental label Umor Rex, which has announced today that it will donate all of its digital sales through October 15 to Mexico's Red Cross and other relief efforts throughout the city.
In an email, the label's founder Daniel Castrejon wrote that the he's decided to donate the label's digital proceeds in order to support ongoing relief efforts because of the political state in Mexico.
"We are working hard doing rescue labors, lifting debris, designing infographics to inform, providing food and water to people who are putting their lives at risk by trying to rescue others, doing street work, transporting, well; contributing with everything we can," He wrote. "Unfortunately, we need more than our hard work to achieve the normality. We love our city and our people, but the corruption is present in the political class. So WE, the people, are taking the problem in our shoulders."
Over the past couple of years, Umor Rex has established itself as one of the most reliably great homes of forward-thinking electronic music from around the globe. They deal in twitchy drones, free-associating ambient music, cathedral-sized instrumentals, and chattery sound art—all of which is united in a spirit of pushing boundaries and celebrating the rich histories of electronic composition. Each of the releases is housed in beautiful packages designed by Castrejon himself, though most of the physical editions sell out pretty quickly, so their digital releases are pretty much the only way to pick them up anyway.
Honestly, Umor Rex is one of those labels where I pretty much buy each of their releases on sight, so you can't really go wrong if you dip anywhere in their back catalog. But, if you need a place to start, I'd recommend the unfurling synth pieces of Chicago trio Good Willsmith, Félicia Atkinson's charmingly anxious Visions / Voices, and the battered minimalism of Joseph Clayton Mills and Michael Vallera's Maar project. But seriously, you'll want to snag as much as you can—especially since its going to a good cause.
One of the few reliefs in the midst of the geopolitical chaos and string of tragic natural disasters that have defined 2017 thus far has been seeing how small groups of people have been able to band together and help one another in the face of adversity. Simultaneous to this, there's still ongoing relief efforts in Houston and Florida in the wake of recent natural disasters, and there's a great need in Puerto Rico where a Hurricane just knocked out power for a majority of the island. Any efforts to support those are great places for your money to go too.
It's obviously especially heartwarming to see this sort of effort happening in the music industry, like when a number of underground record labels and artists uniting to raise funds for charities and non-profits dedicated to fighting discriminatory practices instituted both stateside and abroad. More of this, always.