Vol. 0 by Amateur Aztec Hour


What’s more interesting than music? Probably nothing but what is even more interesting is music with context, meaning, and intriguing stories behind it. Amateur Aztec Hour is a solo project by Mexican, American, and Texas-based Daniel Ramirez. He’s a multi-talented artist who is a songwriter, sings, produces, and plays the guitar, bass, keys, synth, MPC, and Sp-404. “Vol. 0” is the project’s debut album that started in Spring 2021 when Daniel’s last living grandparent; Raul Ramirez passed. He looked up to him and he describes him as a “mythical man”; he lived to be 99, fought in World War 2, and was a remarkable Aztec athlete with great health and rare doctors’ visits. Another thing that Daniel found worth mentioning is that his grandfather was born after the Spanish flu that ended in 1920 and died a month before COVID hit San Antonio. This changed the perspective of the artist toward life, existentialism, and revelation; he started asking more important questions like “who are we? who do we think we are? and why are we here?”. Working on this album and experimenting helped the artist find meaning and purpose, he explored different soundscapes and diminishes that reflect different realities.  

The album has a total of 13 tracks, each with a different subject deeper than the other, from modernity, substance abuse, and self-deprecation to existentialism and social criticism. “Clandestination” for instance is based on the 80s movie Mannequin, which as the artist explains “is a Carpe Diem fascination with mannequins that questions the perpetual use of these strange shells of humans that are forever upright and frozen in time.” Another song “Remakes” is about how nature always wins and takes over. As for “Home Bodies” it implies that aging is inevitable. Each of these songs has a much deeper story behind it that changes your entire perspective when listening to them. The music is filled with lo-fi elements and a psychedelic aesthetic. The album is very poetic and deep in its context and reflections, it’s very lyrical and leaves you wondering and with more questions to debate. Most of the songs would all fit together as one, the music is thematic with changes in its different elements and components, but the vibe and main musical ideas are the same and fall together. Given the artist’s talents, the songs are heavily loaded with a range of sound effects, synths, electronic beats, strong bass lines, drum pads sound, and 70s-inspired sounds. The vocals are unique, unusual, and very distinguishing; the acoustics and placement sound as if you’re in a tunnel or a deep well. The album is very philosophical so listen with an open mind and I’m sure you’ll leave with more questions.