Fantastic news (!) – the return of the Meridian Brothers, with new LP Cumbia Siglo XXI dropping in August – with a heavier direction to be heard on the latest single, Puya Del Empresario. The Meridian Brothers’ sound has continually evolved from their 2006 debut and four outings on Soundway Records – the Deseperanza LP being a particular WTM favourite (“I don’t have any trousers…” – if you know you know, Ed.) – and judging by latest single Puya Del Empresario, this heavier, wilder style is part of an ongoing psychedelic voyage.
Eblis Alvarez is the brainchild behind Meridian Brothers, having been at the forefront of tropical experimentalism for time. The riotous, bass heavy version of Colombian vallenato (a folk music style) – with latest single Puya Del Empresario – continues to reconfigure Latin folk, with blends of kraut rock, Brazilian tropicalia and cumbia. The new album Cumbia Siglo XXI (translated as 21st century Cumbia) comes out on Bongo Joe Records in August.
Alvarez is playful and enjoys pastiche and humour in his music. He says that Puya Del Empresario uses a production technique, which is found in EDM percussion programming, that “sucks out the rest of the content via a compressor, [the result is] like vulgar electronic music put in the context of puya”. Puya is one of four rhythms that make up the Colombian vallenato. The modern take sounds great to us.
The eccentric way in which Alvarez updates cumbias and Latin folk music will be central to the new record, humour and playfulness have always been distinctive about Meridian Brother’s music. The album title (and content) is inspired by legendary group Cumbia Siglo XX’s Afro-experimentation in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
An old fav’ (mentioned above):