The Upshot: Spanish experimental cosmonauts fuse gypsy, Arab, Turkish psychedelia and western funk for what has to be the most unlikely mashup to date this year.
BY FRED MILLS
Although a Spanish translation program would be of great assistance, I ultimately eschewed that in favor of simply sinking in to this rich, cocoon-like sonic quilt of disparate ethnic and geographical sounds. I do know this much: Mohama Saz feature guitarist Javier Alonso, reedsman Arturo Pueyo, drummer Adrian Ceballos, and multi-instrumentalist Sergio Ceballos (along with a number of guest players, including a flautist, trombone player, and a temptress of a female backing vocalist). Who are Mohama Saz, and what is Negro es el Poder? They hail from Spain, claim primary musical allegiance to Turkey, and insist to be viewed as a rock band.
Based on this, their second full-length, I’d say they have earned the right. Each of these nine songs holds up on its own merits, from the rippling, almost tumultuous “Hueso y Luz” (which recalls, in places, African artists such as Ali Farka Touré and Bombino), to the galloping, surf-psychedelic swirl of the title track, a tune just itching to be picked up by an American jam-band (listen for the left-field wah-wah guitar), to the hypnotic, sensual (and femme-voiced, emphasis on Middle Eastern trance) “Manana en las Montanas.”
Fans of Robert Plant’s excursions into sonic eclecticism, take note: the singer has a new backing band waiting in the wings, should he decide to delve even deeper into exoticism.
It’s a beautifully designed package and pressed on 180gm vinyl (also on CD). You can sample it at the group’s Bandcamp page.
DOWNLOAD: “Negro es el Poder,” “Manana en las Montanas”