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World - Released September 8, 2017 | Soundway Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama

Bossa Nova & Brazil - Released September 24, 2012 | Soundway Records


World - Released June 9, 2014 | Soundway Records

Bogota's Meridian Brothers have always been as much a legend as a band. They were created by composer, multi-instrumentalist, and strategist Eblis Álvarez (also a member of Los Pirañas, Ondatrópica, and Frente Cumbiero). He composes, produces, and plays everything on the studio records but is backed by a real band when playing live. The meld of electronic music, production savvy, Pan-Latin rhythms, psychedelia, classical composition, and vanguard methodology has drawn Anglo comparisons to Frank Zappa as well as the Residents. It's flattering, but not accurate. Salvadora Robot, MB's sophomore outing for Soundway, differs from its predecessor Desesperanza. That work focused almost exclusively on putting Álvarez's quirky strangeness to work with salsa and cumbia rhythms. Here he employs a range of mostly Caribbean rhythms; with others (such as cumbia) often woven into their fabric. All ten tunes are illustrated by killer guitars, innovative electronics, vocal treatments, and sharp humor. Percussion is organic and sampled; guitar tunings are unusual, as are notions of timbre and pitch. But it all grooves. "Somos los Residentes" uses Dominican merengue, but its mix of repetitive reeds, clattering drums, frenetic bassline, and chanted vocals brings the tradition forward into a hallucinatory world. The title track uses Peruvian guitars atop driving cumbian percussion, loopy keyboards, and an angular bridge that transforms it into a tropical party tune. "De Mi Caballo, Como Su Carne" is psychedelic 21st century Latin bugalu with reverbed guitars, punchy electronics, and piano-playing montunos. "Doctor Trompeta" employs vallenato in a hip-hop-esque vocal delivery with a taut, modern son groove, stretched by the mix to the breaking point. The instrumental "El Gran Pájaro de los Andes" combines Peruvian, Bolivian, and surf guitar styles, Trinidadian rhythms, loops, Farfisa, and synths. Its effect is akin to cartoon serial music. "La Tristeza: Invitando a Salvadora" begins with champeta, caressed by minor-key synths and guitars as the drums and loops evolve into reggaeton. "Baile Ultimo: Del Preso Que Va a la Silla Eléctrica por Ofensa a la Moral Colombiana" is the album's finest moment. Its satiric narrative about a man sentenced to the electric chair for dancing to too much reggaeton offers a wicked commentary on Colombian culture's notions of "good taste." Álvarez uses the form, but warps and twists it through blistering electro. Salvadora Robot is not just for Latin music fans. Its weirdness, humor, and rhythmic invention are very accessible; it's a hell of a lot of fun to listen and dance to. Further, his compositions, arrangements, and production are intricate, detailed, and adventurous. The guitar and organic percussion playing are astonishing. The musical discipline and creative imagination at work in these songs places this album in a league of its own. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Latin America - Released November 2, 2018 | Names You Can Trust


World - Released October 30, 2015 | Soundway Records

The Meridian Brothers' Salvadora Robot was one of 2014's quirkiest and most musically compelling recordings. The Colombian ensemble was founded by composer, multi-instrumentalist, and strategist Eblis Álvarez, who is also a member of Los Pirañas, Frente Cumbiero, and Chúpame el Dedo, with Pedro Ojeda of Romperayo. Álvarez composes, produces, arranges, and often plays everything on the studio records himself. Los Suicidas, the first album in a projected trilogy, is even loopier than its predecessor. Alvarez has always been intrigued by organ music. To that end, the inspiration here is the music of Hammond wizard Jaime Llano Gonzalez, a Colombian music legend whose command of traditional national styles such as pasillos, bambucos, and cumbias was equalled only by his innovation of juxtaposing against foreign rhythms -- foxtrots, waltzes, boogaloos, etc. -- often presenting them in an easy listening style. He is regarded by some as Colombia's Raymond Scott. Álvarez pays him great tribute by using a variety of chap synths to emulate the mighty organ's many sounds. Most of the album comes off sounding like chiptunes played by Walter Wanderley at the wrong speed. Highlights include the single "Vertigo," with its samba bassline, 8-bit staggered poly-melodies, and looped budget drum machines. Though it's in 4/4, there are polyrhythms stacked off the main one with echo-plexed chords and single lines that create a spaced-out, exotic, tropical feel. "Delirio" sounds exactly like its title, with vocals even more whacked-out than the keyboards; the speed of the rhythms increases throughout the piece until it blurs and has to find some track to get back on. "Conteinda," with its cinematic vocal -- a cowboy growl during a cattle drive -- and a popping cumbia rhythm accented by vallenato handclaps, has two counterpoint melodies erupting from the center. The tune would have made Frank Zappa and Les Baxter proud. The cut-time cumbia bassline in "Idilio" is offset by pumping, simulated B-3 chords and a swirling melody that sounds like a tape of a circus organ stretched beyond repair. Closer "Amargura" sounds like two demos stitched together for a minute, then lo-fi rhythm tracks meet a furious organ, swooping analog synth lines, and an upright bassline covering the chord changes. Its title translates as "grief" although it sounds like anything but. Throughout Los Suicidas, Alvarez's humor is ever present; that said, the music is provocative, strange, and mysterious. While a first aural helping may involve some head scratching, further encounters with this set will only result in delight. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Electronic - Released October 15, 2009 | La Distritofonica


Latin America - Released May 12, 2020 | Bongo Joe


Latin America - Released May 26, 2014 | Names You Can Trust


Latin America - To be released August 21, 2020 | Bongo Joe


World - Released June 11, 2012 | Names You Can Trust


Ambient - Released August 26, 2016 | Discrepant


World - Released April 29, 2013 | Soundway Records