Wednesday, December 22, 2010

MONARETA-Fried Speakers (Nacional Records, 2010)

The Colombians-by-the-way-of-Brooklyn Monareta have evolved quite a bit since I found out about them through one of those early Nacional Records compilations with that song "Matanza Funk." I didn't like them back then, because of the wacky rapping, but later I started to feel more and more intrigued when songs like "Llama" and "Raimundo llevate al mundo" came out and they started to lean more toward the Afro-Colombian sounds of the cumbia family. I still play those two songs quite regularly on my sets.
Their new album satisfies with a surplus my need for ñu-cumbias with great tracks like "La Cumbia Invasiva," "Gitana Llorona" and "La Safor" which I'll be spinning in the near future at parties and mixtapes, no doubt about it. Their approach to cumbia is similar to that or other fellow Colombians like Pernet and (pre-Li Saumet) Bomba Estéreo. The focus is on the hypnotic beats more than in making songs, there's very few vocals and I appreciate that from a DJ perspective, because it leaves room for a lot of rework.
But then theres some odd shit in this album that totally threw me off. True story, I had it playing the other day as background music while doing some home cleaning, and my girlfriend has one of those multiple CD players and when this song "Bogotá Brooklyn" came out I honestly thought the CD had changed to one of hers. I was like, "Yo! Is that one of your CDs playing?" maybe, I thought, this is music she listens to while she does yoga or something. Man! What the fuck was that about? It sounds all new-agey and shit like if it was the soundtrack of some cry-inducing documentary about pre-pubescent girls forced into prostitution in some banana republic or something like that they would play on PBS. As if that wasn't enough, there's another song called "Las Rutas del Mar" that I can't even describe because I wasn't able to listen, I felt instinctively compelled to press skip right after that woman started singing. Ew.
Aside from those unpleasant surprises, the album is overall pretty good, the art is amazing and their dubby electro-cumbias are some of the bests in the genre released this year. Just keep making more of those, please.

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