Orkesta Mendoza: a romantic Mexican nightmare set to music

22nd October 2016

Title: Vamos A Guarachar!

Label: Glitterbeat

Imagine those typical Mexican trumpets. You know, those celebratory bursts that scream mambo, cambia and mariachi. You can just see the traditional clothing and dance moves reaching up…only to be grabbed by a beast of a hand and dragged down into a mutant pit of European beats that punkify the music into something else.

Tradition desperately tries to get out of this CD but it is tied to a fractured form of ambient dub on Cumbia Volcadora and then its mashed into a techno-indie fold-up on and then it’s transformed into a nightmarish scream from the heart that combines Frank Sinatra with Nick Cave. That is, the vocal is romantic, smooth, heart-felt and positively yearns but there is something swirly and distorted happening in the background.

So let me come clean here and tell you that this outfit is headed by Sergio Mendoza who is a member and the producer for the well known group, Calexico. Whereupon many readers will cry, “Ah, I see now.” Suddenly the musical approach makes more sense doesn’t it?

In terms of mastering? Well, I’ve heard better, I must say. The upper mids are rather thin and clinical in their presentation which means that the bass is punchy with a high impact but lacking in character or much organic feedback. Sounds like the peak limiting has been pushed uu in the red a touch. Not too muh, but enough so you’d notice.

The sound quality issue doesn’t take away from the innovation and invention on this fantasy adventure in sound, however. There is plenty to explore here and plenty to enjoy. This is music that worries you, though. In terms of its artistic content, that is. What do I mean by that? Imagine if Alfred Hitchcock had made a film in and about Mexico. This would be the soundtrack.