Track By Track: Nicola Cruz – Prender Al Alma


Following his collaboration with Nicolas Jaar's Clown & Sunset label, Nicola Cruz returns with an exciting new LP entitled Prender El Alma. This latest batch of sounds sees the digital revolution continue to flow through Latin America as brand new technology meets with all sorts of more traditional aural offerings. We were rather intrigued by the sounds that were presented to us so we asked Nicola to talk us through the album one track at a time;


This song was definitely the intro to the album. It took place around March, 2 years ago in a rainy afternoon at the studio. It was a breakthrough point in my compositions because it started a whole new path of experimentation and folkloric investigation. Healing harmonies. I picture this one in a yellow colour.

Puente Roto

'Puente Roto' is a red coloured song inspired in the rhythms of Peru. This rhythm called festejo (played with cajon, cajita, quijada de burro, etc) caught my attention when I heard it in an afro music festival around Esmeraldas, in Ecuador. I wanted to do a song with it ever since so I got together with Victor Murrillo, a folklorist friend of mine, and we did this Andes mountains meets Peruvian coast sort of blend. I feel it is very unique.

La Mirada

'La Mirada' has a pale blue feeling. It’s a teasing groove trying to induce the listener in a sensual way, like a nymph attracting a man into it’s river. There’s much texture around this pieces, wood-like ambience surrounds the song and percussion.

Cumbia del Olvido

This one is green as dub. I feel a mistyful marihuana environment here, like a nostalgic mantra of letting go. I recorded this one along with Rodrigo Capello on the guitar, perfect tune for having some beers and forgetting past love affairs.

Prender el Alma

The title track is a journey through ‘selvatic’ textures, yellow ones to be accurate. Kind of relates to the experience of having a vision in the jungle. Lots of ambient recordings done here; I really wanted to recreate an Amazon scene so I guess all elements were focused on that. At the same time the song is named after the album for the feeling of elevating the soul, you know, to have a wider vision.

Colibria ft. Huaira

The story of Colibria takes place in the beautiful town Baños in Ecuador, a place with lots of waterfalls, extremely green and guarded by an active volcano. The song resembles Huaira (voice), as a kid born from the mountain and raised in that environment alone. This is one of those songs that just flows extended, as a 90 bpm techno mantra, with 909 elements all around, and a layer of recorded bass doing D and detuning, that does all the moisture. 

La Cosecha

La Cosecha has a “warm” orange colour, as a sunny morning. Gives an optimistic feeling because it helds tribute to the prosperity of the land in Kichwa. At the same time I feel this track, and many of other tracks in the album, have a contained gravity in the bass which holds you attached to the ground.

Equinoccio ft. Huaira

Equinoccio speaks of a particular season of the year, an specific day to be exact.; March 21. I composed this song that day in 2014 along with Huaira. It’s a song that reminds of balance, analogue to the sun’s position in the Equator which is completely perpendicular, therefore light is evenly spread in the world for a day.


Eclipse has a purple-night color. The song has a very ancient chant done in duet by two kids. It has a very nostalgic feeling. In the province of Imbabura when a newborn dies, it’s a tradition to dress him up properly and do a celebration for the journey to the another life, a transition compared to brief eclipse.

Cocha Runa ft. Tanya Sanchez

In shades of a light red, Tanya sings to mystic creatures of the Amazon, called the Yaku Mutjas, equivalent to sirens. A chant to water in all forms, mixed with an interpretation of texture I did with glitches and analogue delays. Tanya sings in a very high pitched and beautiful Kichwa, and does harmonies like no other, I could go on forever recording with her new voicings to the track. I have a personal version were I only have the voices and harmonies for my pleasure.

Prender el Alma is out on 6th November via ZZK Records.