Tuesday, November 19, 2013

G-Flux on Electric Cowbell Records

From what my feeble mind is just barely putting together, Cumbia started as a working class genre in Columbia using an array of instruments on hand rooted in west african percussion and rhythms some sixty years ago. Fast forward to 2008 where Gustavo Naranjo aka G-Flux relocates to the US from Mexico City and brings with him his take on nu-cumbia producing and remixing the heavyweights of the mutating genre showcased in these two tracks with the Guadalajara-based duo Los Master Plus, the kings of cumbiatrónica on the A-Side and Mexico's duo Afrodita and the cumbia-surf guitar legend Jose Luis Carballo.

A real chest cough opens A-Side's "Ritmo Universal". A bouncy echo reverb ends up taking something related to reggae and dancehall roots into entirely new territory. An organ is joined by laser fire in this futuristic Afrika Bambaataa take on Cumbia. It's a "Planet Rock" fusion track that borrows unknown elements from the future for this latin american B-Movie Cramps style rhumba with a big band Cuban horn section. Doubled up female vocals and alien ooah ooah's are delivered from planet heavy echo reverb where they quietly whisper and chant to the end of space over smooth jazz inspired guitar.

"Meneito" opens with appropriately a cowbell on the down beat carving out the space between reggae 2/4 jabs at a sharp synth organ. Heavy dub reverb pings across channels with heavy doses of 8 bit electronics while managing to have that traditional street accordion take over the main melody. It's a real crazy mix of reggaeton dub and electro funk - things that I know nothing about, but there's enough forward looking weirdness to know this isn't one of your dad's 45's. It's squarely placed in contemporary Cumbia with purely electronica elements while the vocals also pay homage to it's trained soul roots while embracing gansta rap. Sort of makes me think the opening introduction and this whole history of Cumbia doesn't even matter. Not to say they don't know these roots but they've been torn up and grafted to another species, creating an entirely new fruit.

Pick this up from Electric Cowbell Records, out today.

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