Gilles Peterson will launch his new label, Arc Records, with a reissue of cult record Musica Infinita by Tino Contreras.

A psychedelic, experimental jazz record, originally released in 1978, it marked a daring step forward by the Mexico City-based musician. Copies of the original are highly sought after, despite the drummer and composer being much overlooked in both his home country as well as abroad.

Explaining his connection to the record, Peterson says, “This was the first record I heard from that region which had that amazing psychedelic, cosmic jazz sound. It’s somewhere between a David Axelrod record and a release on Saturn. I’ve always had it as one of my secret gems.”

The story behind Peterson re-releasing the record is serendipitous. Several years ago, he bought a copy before a gig in Japan, and it soon became one of his most cherished discoveries. Years later, booked to play at a festival in Mexico, Peterson was introduced to Carlos Icaza, a record collector and musician, who also had a copy of the record. To Peterson’s delight, Icaza suggested they meet up with Contreras who, at 95, is still active and based in Mexico City. Soon enough, the three of them had agreed a plan to re-issue Musica Infinita.

The album is the product of a long, varied musical development for Contreras, and of his productive partnership with Estrella Newman, a scholar who championed pre-Columbian culture and Mexico’s experimental traditions.

The group name adopted for the album, Quinto Sol, reflects the influence of the Aztec Calendar, a concept which Contreras and Newman were inspired to build their shared musical project around. It’s a concept based around an Aztec carved stone structure, known as the Sun Stone, discovered in the late eighteenth century, believed to outline five periods, or suns, which explain the transformations of the earth. Inspired by a nighttime visit to the Pyramid of the Sun, in the ancient city of Teotihuacan, Contreras decided to adopt a group name in reference to the fifth period of the Aztec Calendar. Thus, he picked Quinto Sol, meaning “Fifth Sun.”

Moving forward, Arc Records will focus on selected reissues from Peterson’s archives, “shining light on magnificent records and the stories that brought them to us.”


01. Sinfonia Del Quinto Sol
02. El Hombre Cosmico
03. Orbita 13

Musica Infinita LP is released on January 10, 2020. Meanwhile, you can stream “Sinfonia Del Quinto Sol” here.