Challenging, original, thoughtful and — blow me down with a feather — actually FUN
Woe betide this one slipping under your radar, as it’s one of the more challenging and interesting albums to have come our way this year. Just when you thought you had the Tip crew sussed, along comes something like this to completely throw you off track.
Electro 7 is Rodrigo Baills who’s better known as Dr Panic from The Melovskys, whose album I still maintain is one of the great unsung classics of our genre. Rodrigo is joined by trad Cuban musician Raul Oviedo and Mexican hiphop and pop producer Paolo Marcellini, creating an album that’s part Latin Funk, part Breaks, part Hip Hop.
It all makes sense because of a sort of shared context. Baills we all know for that expressive, thunky-yet-fluid psytrance, and the conjoining of this with Cuban folk music is compelling. Marcellini’s influence is solid; his own Myspace page delivers a sweetly-produced bit of glassy- Latin hiphop-meets-spanish-holiday-pop and it is in the context of all this that the project really comes into itself: three backgrounds so diverse that the outcome is either going to be hit or shit. No middle ground.
The production is steadfastly electronic, but organic rhythms and live instruments flow through it continuously giving it a three-dimensional, warm atmosphere. It’s a bit like Buena Vista Social Club jamming with some bits of electronic kit they found in a skip near their local
Ay Mamita and Sin Alma are pure café folkjam, while Candela edges things into a sort of Cuban-garage 2step. La Guagua is a lament, with peppered Melovsky stabs and drops making for a sound that’s half pissed bedroom mashup DJ, half futuristic Eurovision; but in a good way.
The fusion of styles on Mi Barrio is so diverse it occasionally ends up the wrong side of sketchy. Meanwhile the mishmash of dark psybreaks and cruising, lo-rider Hispanic-hop of El Trompo moulds together perfectly to create one of the most compelling and addictive grooves I’ve heard in ages.
There are then three Melovskys remixes, which sound like Melovskys without being Melovskys. Ay Mamita is unrecognisable, with themes used like influential pointers in a beer-spillingly danceable bit of futuristic jungle. Candela goes more glitchy breaks, while Sin Alma is the icing on the cake: well-rounded, full-bodied world/breaks/folk that’s as psychedelic as finding half a Mescaline worm at the bottom of your tequila.
It’s definitely summer stuff. The music is so full of atmosphere that I can imagine it working incredibly well on a warm evening with a good bottle of wine and a lot of cheese (hey, it does it for me). The fun element of this may be lost, however, on the top deck of the number sixteen on your way to work on a rainy Monday morning. But hey, that’s what you get for living in
Some will love this and some will hate it. Certainly if you want fullpower psytrance that melts your brain and makes your knuckles fall off, you would be advised to look elsewhere. Electro 7 is soulfood for anyone who’s been looking for something different.
I’m quite pleased that I’ve managed to review this without a single reference to cigars (except that one), something I was determined not to mention. I was also determined not to mention Santata; however it is an unavoidable truth that if you enjoyed Santana’s latter collaborative, multigenre stuff then chances are you will love this. Everyone else: give it a sniff.
Even if it’s not your cup of herbal, at least someone’s doing something to pull the music we know and love in a different direction. Bullshit review-waffle aside, this is most likely the real significance.