Luiz Pérez — En el Ombligo de la Luna
((Not on label) no#, 1981/2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, 2013-04-01:One of the earliest examples of "Prehispanic Fusion," a style combining the pre-colonial music of Mexico with modern electronics and progressive rock, channeling the spirit of ancient cultures. The style later gained broader recognition with Jorge Reyes, Antonio Zepeda and others. En el Ombligo de la Luna is pretty much where it all started. The first track "In Alteptl Tonal" introduces the percussion, ancient wooden flutes and bird-whistles that form the cornerstone of this style, but as the album progresses modern instrumentation is slowly introduced; electric guitars, then synthesizers and bass are in full deployment by the middle of the third track that closed side one of the original LP, along with wordless vocalizing. The side-long title suite features many haunting quiet parts that can thankfully now be heard clearly, utilizing winds, layered percussion, guitars, and synths, building slowly to a climax, followed by a short section of ancient poetry, leading into the spirited midsection where pulsating bass mixes with jagged synth sounds, morphing into a magnificent passage for layered synths. The closing section then reintroduces the percussion and flutes from the opening section. This is most welcome reissue, especially given that most Mexican LP pressings of the 1980s were very noisy, full of clicks and pops and other irregularities. While the limitations of the original analog recording are still audible on a very close listen, all of those horrible pressing issues are now gone; what remains is one of the magical gems of Mexican progressive music sounding better than it ever has before.
by Jon Davis, 2013-12-10:I would imagine that when this album was first released back in 1981, people referred to it as "timeless." It starts out with a wooden flute and a wide array of shakers and other percussion, and in the listener's imagination, it's something that could have been recorded 500 years ago if the technology had existed to record it. The second track continues with wooden flute and percussion, though it concentrates more on drums and wooden sounds than on shakers; there's also something that sounds like a conch shell being blown. The credits (as far as my Spanish will get me) merely say that all instruments are of Pre-Columbian origin with the exception of guitar, bass, echo chambers, frequency analyzer, phase shifter, sin-ei (not sure what that is, maybe a synthesizer, since I'd swear I hear one), and gong. The modern instruments start appearing on the third track, but Pérez handles the transition so smoothly that it's not jarring. About five minutes into "Ketzakoatl Yauh Miktlan" he develops a groove reminiscent of Mike Oldfield, which isn't a bad reference point since both are multi-instrumentalists who build up music part by part in the studio. The way Pérez combines these ancient and modern instruments seems perfectly natural, which leads to another "timeless" factor — this is music not rooted in any particular time, which could exist anywhere on the timeline from ancient times into the future. In some ways, En el Ombligo de la Luna is a precursor to some World Music, but I wouldn't push that comparison too far. This recording stands on its own regardless of its innovation at the time of original release, another way in which it is "timeless."
Related artist(s): Luiz Pérez
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
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
Gentle Giant - Out of the Woods - The BBC Sessions – Here is another BBC sessions release on the Band of Joy label, with one unreleased track and several earlier versions of arrangements which became live staples of the band during the group's heyday.... (1997) » Read more