El Gran Silencio - Super Riddim Internacional, Vol. 1 (EMI Latin)
Reviewed by Sadie O., 8/23/05
One of Mexico's most popular underground bands, covering ground from ska to hip hop to rock to mariachi, wrapping it all up together as "Cumbiamuffin". Formed in Monterrey, Mexico in the early 90's, they've incorporated musical styles mostly from Jamaica and Columbia, as well as US and the Mexican vernacular styles, into their own special brew. Lots of syncopated percussion as well as both traditional Mexican instrumentation and rock/ska backbone. Mostly high energy, with the occasional pretty song to round things out. Nothing that ain't ear candy. I love this band!
If there's FCCs, they're all in SpanishŠ Start with 4 and 9, then try 2 and 11. 5 and 15 are nice for a mellow mood. Then play em all!
1. Intro - bouncy rhythm behind collage of conversations recorded with handheld mic.
2. **uptempo syncopation with hip hop samples and vocals.
3. alternating male and female harmonies over midtempo riddim, "ungrateful hearts", some accordion.
4. ***SKA! If your butt ain't shaking, you DEAD, bwoy!
5. **nice meaty percussion, then what sounds like Hawaiian guitar. Pretty song about "it's a new day en mi Monterrey." Have a pina colada!
6. hand drums, violins, accordion, minor key - how does it manage to add up to hip hop?
7. slow, melancholy, pretty (for 30 seconds) - then melodic Mexican-style ska - then some drums and back to pretty.
8. uptempo mariachi rave-up.
9. ***Cumbiamuffin, right! This is the shit!
10. Starts with scratch and solo vocal, then slow and pretty tune with many pauses for more solo vocals. Ending same as start.
11. **uptempo cumbiamuffin with horns. Sheer fun!
12. midtempo Mexi-ska with guiro and accordion and violin.
13. nice fleshy rock steady, slowing to a mellow groove with horns.
14. drums at start, uptempo mariachi rave, suddenly breaking into heavy metal and then back again as if nothing had happened.
15. **spoken word and bits of guitar merge into slow and pretty number with horns - more like samba than anything.
16. 1 minute 15 seconds of punk rock - with bells!
17. Outro - same like Intro.