Review Conector II

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Any person who spent their teenage years in Latin America in the mid-90s will have danced to “Bolero Falaz”, one of Colombian rock band Aterciopelados’ biggest hits. And who was the mastermind behind that amazingly catchy track? Not only Aterciopelados’ front woman Andrea Echeverry, but also her loyal partner Héctor Buitrago.

Héctor Buitrago’s first solo album as Conector (playing on the words “con Héctor” – “with Hector” in Spanish – but also meaning connector) was well received by the critics and is followed by his second solo effort under name of Conector II (it’s up to the audience to decide whether the title of the sequel should be The Return of the King or The Final Nightmare).

I must admit that after Aterciopelados’ heyday in the 90s I completely lost track of them. So when the chance came to listen to what half of the artistic brain of the band had been up to, I grabbed it with both hands. For old times’ sake… I put my big headphones on, turned the volume up and waited for the first guitar riff that was going to send me jumping up and down the room. But what I found was a rather different, almost mystifying sound.


 
“Enciéndelo” (Light it up/Turn it on) is a 1.16 minute intro that could easily have been a leftover from Enya’s “The Celts”. “Hare Mantramalgama” has obviously been inspired by the famous Hare Krishna mantra and offers a distinctive Hindu sound. “Rákira Májica” invites the world to absorb the cosmos’ energy so that we can access a long-lost wisdom. I was surprised to find that 17 Hippies, a popular German group, performed and collaborated with the lyrics of “Agua en el desierto” (Water in the desert). “Una vaca es un bosque” (A cow is a forest) and “Tabakito de Maiz” (Corn cigarette) have a tribal feel to them which, together with the sound of animals and insects, make the listener believe they’re in a gig in the middle of the Colombian jungle. “Mujer Santuario” is a soft-electronic anthem that encourages women to fight for their place in society and this modern rhythm brings back a bit of normality to this otherwise strange selection of noises and sounds.

Although not particularly my cup of tea, it has to be acknowledged that Conector II achieves what its artist set about to portray: a connection of different sounds and rhythms, ideologies and feelings, nature and progress, evoking the past as well as the future… and all of it hand in hand ‘with Héctor’. Not brilliantly weird enough to be easily remembered or accessible enough to be popular, it’s an ambitious CD whose tribal spell unfortunately may not endure.

You can listen to more Conector at http://soundcloud.com/conector-1


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