Friday, September 28, 2012

BOMBA ESTEREO-Elegancia Tropical (Polen Records, 2012)

I had just finished a yummy kale juice and I was feeling all blissful and energized and connected to nature and that's when I decided to play this album on my headphones while I walked down the streets on a beautiful sunny afternoon. It suddenly all made sense.
I tried listening to it twice before and I couldn't get into the album's primal driving mood. I don't know, maybe I was expecting something a bit more edgy and gritty and it all sounded too shinny and optimistic to me. Those who had originally pictured Li Saumet as the Latin American answer to M.I.A. (myself included) would be disappointed by this. But how dare we project our expectations on her like that? She never subscribed to those third world jungle guerrillera aesthetics. Li is coming out straight out of a tropical jungle but the jungle of Pandora where giant ferns light up when she walks by.
That's what Elegancia Tropical feels like to me. It depicts a jungle landscape but it's not dark, scary, full of dangerous creepy creatures. It's a fantasy jungle with colorful disco lights and everybody is nice to each other, in a perfect utopian balance, as long as you're connected to the pachamama with your magic tail--or with an infusion of ayahuasca or other organic trip-inducing substances. For old cynical, empirical, Juan Data it's hard to connect to this type of mood on the usual, but a kale shake worked its magic and all of a sudden I was transported to Bomba Estéreo's realm.
I don't know if this is the type of album that I'd play as a center piece on my DJ sets, but I really enjoyed the listening experience, particularly the carefully layered synths that Simón Mejía provides. I'm not saying it's all new age vegan trippy shit, there're certainly a couple of heavy-hitting dance-floor oriented tracks and some sexually charged lyrics, but as a whole it definitely works best on the head-phones (and live, of course). Over all I feel like the album was conceived by people that were simply too happy for successfully making globally appraised music and not agressive enough in caring if you dance to it or not.

To be released November 6th.

1 comment:

tezro said...

I really hate the production on this album and it's a shame because there's some really good tunes on there. I've been fortunate enough to see this band evolve over the years from their first show in Los Angeles to a recent gig down in Colombia supporting this new release.

As long as they keep up their relentless touring schedule I'll be a happy man as I love them live.