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PopMatters Music Short Takes
our brief reviews of new releases
14 August 2003
Zemog, El Gallo Bueno (Aagoo)
Zemog stirs up a unique and fresh-sounding Latin music for the unsuspecting public. Adventurous, bold, and brash, this is experimental salsa as inspired by the Sun Ra Arkestra. The man with the vision, Abraham Gomez-Delgado, rounded up major talents in Latin music and avant-garde jazz and then set them loose in experimentation. Maybe they're really not accelerating the evolution of salsa, but they're certainly pushing salsa into the outer limits. A crazy mix of international elements, everything from heavy-metal riffage to jazz free-styling simmer up to the top of Zemog's musical cauldron where even a rumba is not just a rumba. Try to imagine Eddie Palmieri's delicate "mozambique" Cuban dance rhythm converging with the soaring of free jazz, and you'll have "Rumba Pa'la Niņas". In other intersections, the normally tame Puerto Rican plena is loosened up with conga riffing, startling accents, and a molten rubber bass. Found sounds, bells summoning the faithful ("Domingo En Pisac"), or the reliable chug of a small cycle engine ("Cemi Snowmobile") intersperse the slinky, sassy mix. The brash virtuosos who create the horn section are just as easy soaring like Ornette, wailing like Balkan brass, or punching it up like a high-life orchestra. These are the sounds of cultures colliding and the groove is utterly inspired musical lunacy. I love it, I just love it when they bobalu.
.: posted by Editor 8:08 AM