Review Mati Zundel – Amazonico Gravitante

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Imagine a journey through Latin America; picture the people you would meet, the places you would go and the music you would hear. The indigenous rhythms that have shaped a continent and its culture for generations. Now imagine that music with a bolt of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires electricity through it.

Originally from a small provincial town half way between Buenos Aires and the seaside resort of Mar de la Plata, Argentine Mati Zundel has been on many people’s radar for a good few years, though many people may know him better as ‘Lagartijeando’.

The electronic, experimental, nu-Cumbia style heard on his early mixtapes captured many people’s attention, making Amazonico Gravitante the perfect first co-release between Waxploitation and ZZK Records. Waxploitation are the LA-based label responsible for acts such as Gnarles Barkley and Danger Mouse. Throughout 2012 they will be co-releasing a number of new albums from Argentina’s ZZK Records, the digital Cumbia label that was home to many of Zundel’s releases as Lagartijeando.

It appears that Zundel’s travels across Latin America broadened his musical horizons beyond his hard rock and metal beginnings – as a teenager he played bass in several local rock and metal bands – resulting in a fantastic mix of eclectic experimentation, traditional folkloric rhythms and psychedelic soundscapes from across the continent.

A particular favourite is “El Alto de la Paz” the heavy nu-Cumbia beat provides the template for the war-like protest chant:

“Vine para quemar la bandera blanca
Levanta guerrillera desde la montaña
Sacar el falso hermano de su disfraz
Amarse y coger el alto de la paz”

“I came to burn the white flag
Wake up guerrillera from the mountain
Remove the false brother from his disguise
To kill, this is ‘alto de la paz'”

After this powerful start, the album takes the listener on a journey to exotic locations far away from Zundel’s homeland. For example, the use of a female Peruvian saman’s voice on one song, Brazilian singer Marina Gasolina on another, as well as folkloric rhythms from Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia.

The laid back, pop-tinged “La Montania” with it’s bright guitar and rarefied vocals creates an ethereal Andean dream that is surprisingly the perfect accompaniment to Zundel’s electronic excursions on the rest of the album, creating one of the finest tracks on the record.

Ever since I received this album, I have hardly stopped listening to it. I am in awe of Mati Zundel and how he has seamlessly fused so many different genres, not only making it work track by track, but also as a complete album. Each listen to Amazonico Gravitante is a musical odyssey through, in my opinion, the most musically diverse continent on the planet. An adventure you will want to take again and again.

Amazonico Gravitante is available as a digital download, CD and also as a double disc LP, which will please all you vinyl-lovers out there. You can buy the album from Amazon, iTunes and other music retailers.


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