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Comprised of a small stable of producers who fuse traditional Mexican music with contemporary electronic music, the Nortec Collective debuted in 2002 on Nacional Records and proceeded to garner a respectable following, especially among critics. Based primarily in Tijuana, the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, just across the border from San Diego, CA, the so-called nortec movement took shape in the late '90s. At that time, producer Pepe Mogt began fusing cutting-edge electronic music with traditional Mexican music of the region such as norteño and banda. (For example, the actual word nortec comes from norteño and techno.) Granted, this wasn't exactly a revelation, for electronic music producers had been fusing styles together from the get-go; however, it was relatively novel in Mexico, where electronic music had little presence at the time. Tijuana was a particularly fertile city for the movement to take shape, because of its thriving club scene fueled by techno-savvy young stateside Californians who perennially cross the U.S.-Mexico border to party, not to mention the abundance of DJs who cater to these border-crossing thrill-seekers.
In time, a group of these nortec artists came together under the banner of the Nortec Collective. They then pooled their talents together to produce a debut album, The Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 1 (2002), released by Nacional Records, a leading Latin alternative label. Other releases followed, including The Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 3 (2005) — but not The Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 2, to some confusion. Mogt, the main producer among the collective, also composed the title track for the soundtrack of Tijuana Makes Me Happy (2005), a film by Dylan Verrechia. The song also appears on the soundtrack to the video game 2006 FIFA World Cup, in addition to The Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 3. Other producers associated with the collective, past and present, include Bostich, Clorofila, Fussible, Hiperboreal, Panoptica, Terrestre, and Plankton Man. In 2006, the Nortec Collective earned their first Latin Grammy nomination, for Best Alternative Music Album, an award that ultimately went to Julieta Venegas' Limón y Sal. Two years later, the band earned a mention in Nor-tec Rifa! Electronic Dance Music from Tijuana to the World, a book about the nortec music phenomenon written by Alejandro L. Madrid. In May 2008, Nortec Collective released Tijuana Sound Machine.