Exposé Online banner

Banda Elastica — Los Awakates de Nepantla
(Paraiso CDGLP 066, 1994, CD)

by Mike Borella, 1995-07-01:

Los Awakates de Nepantla Cover art

I haven't much music coming from across the border recently. However, we are very lucky that Banda Elastica managed to record their third album before the peso crashed. Los Awakates features some of the best RIO and world-fusion that I've heard in quite some time. Combining modern rock and jazz influences along with what sounds like traditional Mexican and/or South American music, Banda Elastica once again have defied categorization. Complex and challenging, yet upbeat and listenable, fans of bands like Congreso, Samla, as well as ethnic fusion are likely to enjoy this album. The instrumentation varies among tracks: guitar, bass, drums (and various other percussion items), flute, sax, clarinet and synthesizer are used. The feel moves from jazz, to big-band, to waltz, to world music. In the RIO tradition, the band uses the traditional musics of their heritage, and updates them with modern instrumentation and style. The result is a busy, complex amalgam of styles with an overlying ancient, spacious feel. This release is easily one of my favorites of all the new releases of the last few years. I highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoyed Banda Elastica's previous material, as well as those who listen to complex fusion and RIO.


by Rob Walker, 1995-07-01:

Dedicated to the memory of Frank Zappa, this Mexican RIO ensemble's superb new album is almost as reminiscent of another underappreciated influential innovator in rock music as it is of Zappa. So when did these guys meet George Clinton?!? Seriously, on several of these tracks, Banda Elastica has definitely "got the funk." Some of this could almost be from a mid-70s Parliament session on which Zappa wrote the horn charts (and threw in some of his trademark mallet percussion as well). Led by sax, keyboards, and the occasional guitar lead, Banda Elastica's intricate music twists through various melodic themes and sudden changes in rhythm and feel. Throughout it all the band displays their solid chops and remains impressively tight and well balanced. The folky touch, musical playfulness and sense of humor are at times reminiscent of Samla Mammas Manna, but for the most part Banda Elastica has their own distinctive sound. Stylistically, Los Awakates blends the aforementioned funk with a more characteristic, energetic RIO sound, and on the later tracks the group gives a definite nod to Zappa's more avant-garde arrangements for rock band. It is perhaps in these Zappa influenced pieces that Banda Elastica is most impressive, both in the technical mastery of their instruments, and their ability to distill the essence of Zappa's style and incorporate it into their own. Los Awakates de Nepantla is a must for fans of both RIO and Zappa's more complex musical leanings, and come the end of the year this album should easily find itself near the top of the best-of-'95 list.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 7 , 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Banda Elastica

More info

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bruce Main - Layers – Layers is the second album by Bruce Main, a mostly DIY one-man-album type thing that Main wrote, recorded, and has made available on CD Baby. Brian Phraner from Phreeworld, for those who remember...  (2007) » Read more

Earthling Society - Sci-Fi Hi-Fi – Fans of freewheeling psychedelic spacerock should take note. Sci-Fi Hi-Fi is Earthling Society’s second release for the 4zero label, and their fifth release overall since their formation in January...  (2010) » Read more

Legendary Pink Dots - A Dream Is a Dream Is a Dream – This LPD DVD release is the earliest known live concert footage of the band, recorded live at De Vrije Vloer in Utrecht, Holland on January 21, 1987. At that time the LPDs were a six-piece band...  (2006) » Read more

Už Jsme Doma - Pohádky Ze Zapotrebí – If one is wondering how to pronounce the title of the fourth album by this equally unpronounceable Czech sextet, don't feel too bad — the writer is in essentially the same boat. Just call it UJD #4....  (1996) » Read more

Dom F. Scab - Analogical Confessions – Dom F. Scab is Spain’s answer for Tangerine Dream fans who wish they still sounded like they did in 1985 or 1986, right when they transitioned from Johannes Schmoelling to Paul Haslinger. His...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues