November 5, 2013

Blog: LOS JAICHACKERS (cucumber)

Multimedia art collaborative LOS JAICHACKERS will debut a major performance, Night Shade/Solanaceae, at PAMM's Miami Art Week/Art Basel Miami Beach opening celebration on Thursday, December 5.  Leading up to the big event, The Port presents guest blogs by LOS JAICHACKERS with playlists, recipes and articles based on exotic night fruits, a major theme of Night Shade/Solanaceae


“A day without alcohol is like an egg without salt”
Luis Buñuel

“Modern people have seen too many chemicals and are ready to go back to eating dirt.”
Mark Kurlansky

"Salt: A World History" by Mark Kurlansky

The only rock you can eat and one of the most fascinating books I have come across, not only is Salt an important piece of historical writing, but it makes you reconsider one of the most basic substances in our society. We have forgotten that since the beginning of civilization up to only about 100 years ago, salt was one of the most sought-after commodities in human history. Mark Kurlansky’s Salt: A World History begins with the discovery of salt in China and moves to its use in Egyptian mummification processes to its role in the US as a factor in both the Revolutionary War and Civil War. Roman soldiers were issued a set amount of salt as part of their pay—the origin of the word “salary” and the phrase “worth his salt.” Salt provoked and financed wars. Salt taxes secured empires across Europe and Asia and inspired revolution (Gandhi's Salt March in 1930 began the overthrow of British rule in India).

Salt is also a surprising musical instrument that can be played by large audiences—as I saw myself at one of the earliest performances by Eamon’s experimental band OJO at Queens Nails, my old artist-run space in San Francisco. OJO performed with 800 pounds of salt haphazardly spilled onto the floor. It was one of the best performances I had ever seen—I still remember the amazing rhythms and sounds 150 people created with only their feet on the salt. According to Eamon the idea came from a trip to Cuba where he saw a carnival in city of Baracoa where all the participants began shuffling along with flip-flops on sand-covered pavement—creating a friction that translated into huge sonic dance party.

​Night Shade Playlist (cucumber)

The music playlist is divided into 3 parts and based on readings in the book: Discovery, Labor and Control. Listen to the playlist by signing up or logging in to Spotify.​​


Track 1

“Sound and Vision” by Megapuss from the release WWSTO 2: A Tribute to David Bowie

(Besides the recording LOS JAICHACKERS did in Mexico City with a blind cumbia band covering “Rebel, Rebel” this has to be one of the best cover songs of Bowie. It is by Megapuss, a supergroup and includes members from Devendra Banhart, Gregory Rogove (of Priestbird), Fabrizio Moretti (of The Strokes), and Noah Georgeson (member of Devendra’s band and his producer)—an amazing track in Spanish!)

Track 2

“From Here To Eternity” by Giorgio Moroder from the release of the same title

(While David Bowie and Brian Eno were recording the seminal song “Heroes” in Berlin in 1977, Eno ran into the recording booth holding a copy of Donna Summer’s new record “I Feel Love” yelling that it was the future of music! Giorgio Moroder was the composer and producer on the track and was a huge influence on electronica. The track chosen here showcases his ability to craft a perfect electronic pop song; one listen and you’ll understand why Daft Punk consider Moroder a god!

Track 3

“Como Quisiera Decirte” by Murcof featuring Los Angeles Negros from the release La Sangre Iluminada

(Murcof merges contemporary ‘holy minimalist’ orchestration and melancholic techno to create near devotional music that has been compared to imaginary collaborations between Arvo Pärt and Thomas Brinkmann or Giya Kancheli and the Aphex Twin. Originally from Tijuana, I consider Fernando Corona an incredibly influential musician. His first three solo albums are masterpieces and his recording, The Versailles Sessions, a site-specific commission at Chateau de Versailles in France, is breathtaking. Six compositions prepared for the project are derived entirely from recordings of 17th century baroque instruments mixed with electronics and effects. They must be heard on the vinyl record release—hi fidelity, por favor!)


Track 1

“Break Well” by Mount Kimbie from the release Cold Spring Fault Less Youth

(Cold Spring Fault Less Youth is a haunting yet familiar collection of sounds with beats layered underneath otherworldly samples. Mount Kimbie, said to be responsible for the birth of the term "post-dubstep," is a musical collaboration by Dominic Maker and Kai Campos out of London. They are putting the last nail in dubstep as we speak.) 

Track 2

“Formal Dedications” by Prefuse 73 from the release Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian

(Prefuse 73 is the alias of Scott Herren, an experimental hip-hop producer whose material often features MCs buried in the mix who become more a part of the sonic texture than a focal point. Herren has collaborated with rappers Ghostface Killah and Aesop Rock, and the band Blonde Redhead. This jazzy track contains a mosaic of rhythmic snippets with melodic scribbles and textural layering; a blend that is continuous action and loops and yields an unending concentration of pure magic.)

Track 3

“Automation” by Boom Bip from the release Zing Zag

(“Automation” is a very cool textural track heavily influenced by rock and '80s new wave created by one of most interesting underground beat producers, Boom Bip. His abstracted sound project made in collaboration with Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals lead to the fascinating Neon Neon project. Inspired by the automaker John DeLorean, this project was a sonic venture focused on what his car, the delorean, (and charisma) meant to the '80s.)


Track 1

“Tired” by Chikita Violeta from the release TRE3S

(Currently my favorite Mexican indie rock band, Chikita Violenta mixes great lyrics with layers and layers of swirling guitars ala Sonic Youth and melodic low fi rhythms, harmonizing noises and hi-energy singing. This is my favorite track from the album.)

Track 2

“Politico” by Mexican Institute of Sound from the release of the same title

(The Mexican Institute of Sound is the project name of DJ and producer Camilo Lara. He is one of the most important music personalities in Mexico; he co-founded the seminal indie label Suave Records in the early 2000s, worked for Warner Bros signing huge bands, and went on to be the vice president at EMI Records. Lara began working on his own project, Mexican Institute of Sound's debut album, Méjico Máxico (Magic Mexico), in 2006. It was an infectious mix of vintage Mexican pop and dance records from the ‘20s through the ‘60s. With all his success, Lara quit his day job and is now focused on his own music. In 2012, he issued a new album, Politico, under the MIS banner. Rather than his usual sample-heavy sampling, it was his first recording of all-original songs played by a live band. He was inspired to write the album after authorities discovered a large cache of the explosive C4 next door to his home, ready to be detonated.)

Track 3

“Concierto para Bongó” from the release of the same title by Perez Prado

(Recorded in 1966, this is one of the best records to come out of Latin America—a fresh hybrid mix of mambo music with Go-Go and psychodelia, and it includes an amazing 16 minute drum solo! Perez Prado is one of LOS JAICHACKERS biggest influences. One of our interests in Perez Prado was that he was the first Latin American artist to "cross-over" internationally with a musical style of his own: The Mambo. In 1949, Perez Prado moved from Havana to Mexico City, where he was known as “El Rey del Mambo.” The mambo is based on what is now known as “cut and paste” music. Long before samplers, turntables and computer technology, Perez Prado was experimenting with ideas of the remix, combining Afro-Cuban rhythms with American swing music and ambient urban sounds. All of this is documented in the 1950 film Del Son al Mambo, where he is seen sampling sounds of the city, foreshadowing what was to become the analog sequencer. These samples were then translated into various instrumentations by his orquestra.)

Night Shade Recipe (cucumber)
Caesar's Salad (original Tijuana recipe)

The Real Fake Caesar's Salad​ ​

For this months’ feature I threw in a little curve and wrote on a book about the history of salt, even though the main focus is cucumber. In Latin America, we enjoy the cucumber's are slightly sweeter cousin, which we call pepino. Pepinos are amazing chilled, peeled and with a dash of chili, lime and salt! This month I had many guests from Mexico and mind you, I live in the desert, so one of the recurring, refreshing dishes I serve is the original Caesar’s salad. It is from my hometown of Tijuana—trust me, it really IS! Here is some background…

The Golden Age of tourism in Tijuana came during prohibition in 1928, when thirsty Americans would make their way across the border to drink immense amounts of alcohol, which was produced in Mexico not just for local consumption, but also to be smuggled into the United States. At its peak, Agua Caliente in Tijuana was one of the best and most famous casino resort complexes of its kind in the world. Aristocrats, Hollywood stars, and gangsters were among the main clientele of Agua Caliente, especially attracted by gambling. It was also common for European nobility to visit the resort and its popularity among stars only increased its appeal to other tourists. Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Bing Crosby, Greta Garbo, W.C. Fields, Julia Child (as a child), Jean Harlow, Laurel and Hardly and Al Capone were just a few of the famous names to have visited Tijuana during this time.

It was this period in Tijuana that gave birth to the cultural phenomenon that is now known as the Caesar Salad. The salad was served at a 16-room luxury hotel, Hotel Caesar’s Place, named after its owner Cesare Cardini, who emigrated from Italy to Tijuana after World War I. The salad quickly became popular, but in the early days, it didn't even have a name. People simply said, "I'll have that salad." It was eventually named after Cardini’s hotel—Caesar’s salad. My grandfather, Daniel Dueñas, who was among the first peple to immigrate to Tijuana, was friends with the chef at the hotel. The chef gave my grandfather the original recipe that he had scratched on to a napkin, and my grandfather passed it on to me. I experimented with the ingredients for a couple of years ‘til it tasted just like my grandfather described.


  • 4 anchovy filets, or to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of green olives, pitted and finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of artichoke hearts, finely sliced
  • 5 teaspoons of fresh lime juice
  • 3 teaspoons of cucumber juice
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 slices of Mexican bread (baguette)
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces of romaine lettuce


  1. To make croutons, brush the bread slices on one side with olive oil, place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until they just begin to brown. Allow the toasted bread to cool, and then cut into 1-inch squares. (Please note: you must leave the bread out overnight before using.)
  2. In a molcajete or mortar and pestle, mash together the garlic and anchovies; transfer to a large bowl and add the lime and cucumber juice.
  3. Whisk in the olives and artichoke hearts, and then the Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Lastly add the olive oil, a small amount at a time.
  4. Place the egg in a small bowl or saucepan and cover it with boiling water. After 1 minute, remove the egg and transfer it to a dish of cold water. Once the egg has cooled, break it into the salad bowl and whisk it into the mixture.
  5. Add the lettuce, Parmesan cheese and croutons. Toss and serve immediately.