Exposé Online banner

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

by Rob Walker, 1995-07-01:

Los Awakates de Nepantla Cover art

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 Elástica 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 Elástica'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 Elástica 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.


by Mike Borella, 1995-07-01:

I haven't much music coming from across the border recently. However, we are very lucky that Banda Elástica 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 Elástica 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 Elástica's previous material, as well as those who listen to complex fusion and RIO.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 7 , 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Banda Elástica

More info

Latest news

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Aktuala - Aktuala, La Terra & Tappeto Volante – The creative forces behind Aktuala were Walter Maioli (arabic oboe, bamboo flute, naj, harmonica, piccolo, etc.) and Daniele Cavallanti (soprano and tenor sax, clarinet) who formed the band in Milan...  (1995) » Read more

Camel - On the Road 1982 – Andy Latimer's Camel Productions have already put out two high quality live shows, one recent and one from the very early years of the band, but this is the first from the mid-period in the...  (1995) » Read more

Tempest - Live at the Philadelphia Folk Festival – It’s about time that these Bay Area Celtic rockers released a live CD! Impressive as Tempest’s studio releases have been, they’ve never come close to the essence of the band’s...  (2001) » Read more

Percy Jones / Scott McGill / Ritchie DeCarlo - Percy Jones / Scott McGill / Ritchie DeCarlo – Fasten your seat belts prior to starting the opening track “Menagerie Animato” – it clocks in at only a little under five minutes, but it’ll leave you out of breath and in need...  (2011) » Read more

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Grand Opening and Closing – It sounds cheesy to admit but the cover art for this CD is what I thought most impressive about it. Independent releases are usually fraught with problems in presentation. But SGM come at you with a...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues