Fresh Stream

MERIDIAN BROTHERS – “El Gran Pájaro de los Andes”


And once again, MERIDIAN BROTHERS. Colombia’s son(s) became beloved worldwide after their last record DESEPERANZA managed to find its way into many more of our ears than had the group’s previous recordings. Our ears were just waiting! SALVADORA ROBOT is the name of Eblis Álvarez’s new offering as MERIDIAN BROTHERS, the moniker he has been using since the late 90s. The playfulness of MB’s music is endearing and intoxicating all at once. As a person who is not actively pursuing Latin dance music (traditional or otherwise) on a regular basis, MERIDIAN BROTHERS’ records hit with extra wallop, the sounds coming across as even fresher than the maximum possible level of freshness that is de rigueur for each new MERIDIAN BROTHERS release. And that’s just a comment on the rhythms in play that I am unaccustomed to hearing on the regular. Then there’s the absolute strangeness of the arrangements, and the nearly inexplicable sounds affects that surface from time to time across the record. Álvarez plays in other more traditional bands such as ONDATROPICA, a classic cumbia revival effort that does what they do very well, but MERIDIAN BROTHERS is his straaaange band, his experimental group, and in case you haven’t noticed around here @ the Hassle, that’s the kind of approach and outlook that really gets our blood flowing.

And my blood is flowing. SALVADORA ROBOT moves away (though never fully) from the more salsa (and cumbia) oriented approach of DESEPERANZA , instead opting to tackle a multitude of Latin, and Caribbean genres and rhythms such as meringue, and even reggaeton. And the curious synthesizers that MERIDIAN BROTHERS are known for are alive and well throughout, conjuring beguiling melodies that ride the rhythmic magic of each track, stick in your brain, and have you humming as your lower half moves in ways that you may not have realized were possible (PLEASE! Be careful with this music!). Thanks for continuing to invite us into your oddly decorated living room Eblis.

“El Gran Pájaro de los Andes” is the track that we have up for grabs from SALVADORA ROBOT (just released by SOUNDWAY RECORDS, their third consecutive MB release). An instrumental track, here a variety of of South American guitar approaches collide head on with synthesizers, cuíca, farfisa, an angry clan of birds, and a batch of Trinidadian rhythms that will just bounce right out of your speakers and will continue to boiiing all around the room (even off of the ceiling) while MERIDIAN BROTHERS’ magical music plays. “El Gran Pájaro de los Andes” is even a little cartoon-ish, but it never feels forced, phony, or stupid. This music is so special because it walks a nearly invisible line between serious and ludicrous. And with a line as barely there as this there is no chance of avoiding that which lies on either side of it. MERIDIAN BROTHERS is serious. Álvarez is considered a genius in numerous circles, and his blending of experimental sounds and to a further blended, mixed, and chilled variety of Tropical and South American beats is all the proof you will ever need to begin to understand why. There is a reason that this man is getting Americans and others all over the world to listen to cumbia, salsa, meringue, etc. in 2014, and maybe even for the first time. MERIDIAN BROTHERS is also ludicrous. Each track sounds like a new Moon Stage for whichever 8-bit NES adventure title that you prefer (that has at least one moon stage, that is). The sounds are otherworldly, and the beats are bubbling, dance inducing amalgamations of the music of the Spanish and Portuguese speaking South American realm. This music is old, this music is new. It exists in multiple forms on multiple planes. MERIDIAN BROTHERS are fantastic. Hoping to get them to the Northeast ASAP.

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