20 February 2007

NMT: 20 FEB 07 Ojos De Brujo --- Techari

Ojos De Brujo --- Techari

[update: 21 Feb 07, 3:20pm, Just realized I flipped my usual of order of things, to make it clear, the band's name is Ojos De Brujo (ODB for short, though there is only one 'real' ODB, god rest his soul), and this most recent album is Techari, sorry if anyone was confused]

There's a bit of witchery going on in this brew. It's an unusual mix of a wide variety of influences and flamenco (the flamenco influence is strong in almost every track, but the added elements vary widely from track to track). It doesn't always work, but it doesn't fail to entertain, even when it's slightly off. Has to be heard to be understood, I think.

1) Color
Horns, and fat bass line don't mix all that well with flamenco rhythms. It's not bad, but it's just a bit messy in parts.

2) Sultans De Merkaillo
A more straight forward Flamenco style treatment, with some turntable scratching thrown in for accent. A much better marriage of hip-hop elements and flamenco than the first song. This I like.

3) Todo Tiende
This song makes a more explicit connection between flamenco and its Arabic/Indian roots. Has an interesting bhangra beat, mixed with traditional style flamenco vocals, mixed with rap en espanol. That's a lot of different meats in the same stew. It works just the same, barely.

4) Runali
Normally I comment on the lyricism of a song, but my Spanish is too rusty, and rapped Spanish doesn't make it easier to follow the meaning of a song, so I can only focus on song structure and execution. Luckily this song is strong in all those areas. This song has some lyrics in English, but they're mostly meaningless, more rap+flamenco, the flamenco is stronger than the rap on this song, but the rap doesn't destroy the other part (doesn't add a whole lot, though).

5) El comfort No Reconforta
The rapstyle on this album sounds a lot more like Mexican roqenespanol acts than Spanish, but most Mexican bands don't look to flamenco and Arabic music to set their raps within. It's an interesting marriage of styles.

6) Tanguillos Marineros
Pretty straight forward flamenco, a touch too much like any other flamenco you might here, not bad, but not great.

7) Silencio
This is pretty good song. Another more or less flamenco-ish song, with a jungle-ish break in the middle just to shake things up. It works pretty well.

8) No Somos Maquinas
The musicianship on this album is excellent throughout, it really shines on this track.

9) Bailaores
Befitting the title, it's hard not to tap your feet and get the itch to get up and do a bit of dancing yourself to this song.

10) Corre Lola Corre
Of course you knew there'd be a reggae tinged song in here somewhere, didn't you? Well this is it, doesn't work for me, it's by the numbers reggaeness doesn't cut it.

11) Feedback
A marriage between flamenco and traditional Indian sounds. Those two worlds aren't so far apart, and it's all surrounded by a bit of a fusion jazz thing going on with the guitar and melody. In this case, all those flavors make for a tasty stew.

12) Piedra Vs. Tanques
More good stuff, another meeting of roqenespanol with flamenco, works just fine.

13) Respira
This is one of the better tracks on the album, it's got a sexy little whisper, some interesting syncopation (I'm a sucker for properly executed off-beatness), and has the proper mix of modern sounds with traditional vocal methods.

14) Nana
Straight up, no fooling flamenco guitar kicks off this track. After all that precedes, you know to expect the song to head somewhere else, and you'd be mostly wrong. It's pretty much a straight flamenco song ( . . . . . . . followed by nearly a minute of silence and some Indian style vocalizing at the very end, didn't think folks still put in 'hidden bonus tracks' in this iPod era).

I liked it, liked it quite a bit, though when I first listened, thought the vocals were a bit too nasally, but this is flamenco singing, there's no such thing as too nasally.

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