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

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Omnia Opera - Omnia Opera – From the first few power chords at the beginning of "Space Bastard" it becomes fairly obvious that this British six-piece have Hawkwind as one of their major influences, yet they seem to be capable of...  (1994) » Read more

Ice - The Saga – Dutch proggers Ice are a spin-off from the outfit Maryson who released a couple albums guided by the writings and keyboards of W.J. Maryson (aka Wim Stolk). The good news is that if you liked what...  (2007) » Read more

Dada - Dada & Castle Wall – From the ashes of Charisma, the duo of Mutsuhiko Izumi and Kenji Konishi – both on guitars and synthesizers – released two albums during its existence. Their 1978 debut, entitled Jyo,...  (1996) » Read more

Bukkene Bruse - Den Fagraste Rosa (The Loveliest Rose) – On NorthSide’s continuum of Nordic music, running from strict traditional to distinctly modern, Bukkene Bruse fall well down on the traditional end. The two fiddles of Annbjørg Lien and...  (2003) » Read more

Yolk - Die Dritte, Die Vierte, Oskivinis, This Is Syd & Fuenftens – This excellent Swiss band has been kicking around since the early 90s (not to be confused with another Yolk from NYC – we reviewed one of NYC Yolk’s live shows back in issue #11) but they...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues