Review Metis – Sessions Vol.I / Antropofagia

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The main problem with Sessions Vol.I / Antropofagia is the fact that it’s only five tracks long. Which means there’s a lot right with it! This is the kind of music that you hoped would exist in Montevideo, taking the raw, visceral power of candombe, matching it with the kind of cerebral approach you’d expect from a nation with so many great writers and artists to it’s name, and the making it sound fresh. It’s something Metis have achieved here, and then some!

A few months ago I reviewed Guarco’s Fiebre album, an album that labelled itself as dripping with the tradition of Uruguay, yet in truth only took a couple of dips. Metis, containing two percussionists and a drummer, as well as guitars, keyboards, turntables and flute, are from Montevideo and fully understand the role of candombe in the country, both through it’s tradition in Montevideo and it’s role in pop music going back to the days of candombe beat, a successful and originally innovative mix of candombe with folk, rock ‘n’ roll and sometimes bossa nova.

Here Metis fuse candombe’s rhythm and style of drumming, which is essentially a more powerful, more urgent cousin of samba, with dub, jazz and electronica. This combination reaches it’s zenith on the first three tracks which really sound quite unlike anything I’ve heard before. First track “Munzampa (Dub de los Cuatro Jinetes / Four Horsemen Dub)” turns hyperactive percussion, a pulsating bass line and what sounds like a thumb piano into a ferocious slice of electro-dub that is as unpredictable as anything Lee Scratch Perry ever recorded to tape.

“Candombe Pa’ Madlib” is another piece of thunderous dub, this time with turntables, guitars and flute taking turns to embellish the main rhythm, a masterclass in percussion. “De Andrade’s Motto” continues the onslaught before two remixes “Munzampa (Mateo Dellepiane aka. Ghetto Expressions Remix)” and “De Andrade’s Motto (Martin Teysera Remix)” calm things down a little at the end with a less percussive approach.

Sessions Vol 1 by MetisThis is music that takes the spirit of Madlib (definitely an influence) or Flying Lotus in it’s aesthetics of tumbling beats but also pays homage to Uruguay’s candombe traditions in it’s sheer percussive force and use of samples, which mainly refer to the home country, as well as throwing in a few left-field choices such as the flute and the “thumb piano” instrument.

Sessions Vol.I / Antropofagia is an outstanding debut, five tracks that shine the light on some of Uruguay’s great musical traditions, as well as Metis, the band themselves, one capable of starting their own traditions in the not-to-distant future.

Listen to the EP in full here:

You can download Sessions Vol.I / Antropofagia at ouzomusic.com/index.php?location=release29


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