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Meridian Brothers|Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento

Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento

Meridian Brothers

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Eblis Álvarez is at it again. The composer/arranger/multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist in the studio version of Bogota's Meridian Brothers has long been creating a deeply personal, musical mythology in which he collaborates with fictional musicians from the sound worlds of vallenato, cumbia, champeta, and porro and engages them with psychedelia, electronica, and post-punk. On Meridian Brothers y Grupo Renacimiento, he conjures the ghosts from a '70s-era "salsa dura" band that never existed. The term "salsa dura" refers to a style of salsa that emphasized instrumental charts over lead vocals (think the Fania All-Stars). It follows directly from 2020's chiptune-flavored Cumbia Siglo XXI, titled for another fictional band, and released on New York's long-dormant Ansonia. Founded in 1949, the label was home to a diverse catalog ranging across Caribbean and Afro-Latin styles, from cha-cha, Cuban mambo, pachanga, and rhumba to merengue, música jíbara, plena, bomba, and danzon. Meridian Brothers y Grupo Renacimiento is Ansonia's first release since 1990. The album is a somewhat stripped-down affair, different from the maximal experiments of 2014's Salvadora Robot or 2017's Donde Estas Maria. It remains focused on son and salsa while engaging other styles. Lyrically, it critiques 21st century life, like an episodic Latin novella translated into salsa dura. In single "Metamorfosis," Artemio Morelia, Grupo Renacimiento's cantate and maquero, wakes to discover he has been transformed into a robot in a constantly connected world dissolving into trans-humanism. The driving congas and timbales are framed by call-and-response vocals and furious piano montunos. Opener "La Policia" touches on boogaloo and son as it engages neo-psychedelic Latin soul in highlighting police brutality and murder. The activist, anti-war "Bomba Atomica" quotes from Rubén Blades' "Pedro Navaja" in a jazzy salsa jam with a hypnotic piano vamp, treated vocals, electronic effects, and glorious improv between lead singer, chorus, and piano. Knotty, interlaced electric guitars introduce the furious "Descarga Profetica." The piano harmoniously dialogues with charging guitars while bongos, timbales, and congas become their own chorus. A layered vocal evokes the muse of Hermes Trimegistum (the Greek name for Egyptian god Thoth) and imagines a sweaty Bogotá salsa jam as an ancient algorithm referencing a prophecy from African lore, all while quoting from the Cuban classic "El Manisero" and bemoaning the corruptive effect of social media. "Hipnosis" delivers an orgy of percussion, montunos, and vocal harmonies that testify to the "greatness" of Grupo Renacimiento. Closer "La Mujer Sin Corazon" is humorously pessimistic, a midtempo jam that weds bomba, a West African guitar vamp, and música jíbara. Its narrative centers on a woman who claims anyone hurt by love "is dumb every time" amid a flurry of claves, timables, maracas, and spiky electric guitars. To underscore this entire dazzling, humorous outing, a short, cartoon mockumentary cementing the album's concept is included. With Meridian Brothers y Grupo Renacimiento, Álvarez has outdone himself. This is easily the tightest, most accessible, and musically forward album he's yet released.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento

Meridian Brothers

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1
La Policía
00:04:20

Meridian Brothers, MainArtist - Eblis Alvarez, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - El Grupo Renacimiento, MainArtist

2022 Ansonia Records 2022 Ansonia Records

2
Poema del salsero resentido
00:03:50

Meridian Brothers, MainArtist - Eblis Alvarez, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - El Grupo Renacimiento, MainArtist

2022 Ansonia Records 2022 Ansonia Records

3
Metamorfosis
00:04:55

Meridian Brothers, MainArtist - Eblis Alvarez, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - El Grupo Renacimiento, MainArtist

2022 Ansonia Records 2022 Ansonia Records

4
Bomba Atómica
00:04:37

Meridian Brothers, MainArtist - Eblis Alvarez, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - El Grupo Renacimiento, MainArtist

2022 Ansonia Records 2022 Ansonia Records

5
Triste son
00:03:50

Meridian Brothers, MainArtist - Eblis Alvarez, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - El Grupo Renacimiento, MainArtist

2022 Ansonia Records 2022 Ansonia Records

6
Hermana necesito
00:04:30

Meridian Brothers, MainArtist - Eblis Alvarez, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - El Grupo Renacimiento, MainArtist

2022 Ansonia Records 2022 Ansonia Records

7
Descarga profética
00:05:15

Meridian Brothers, MainArtist - Eblis Alvarez, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - El Grupo Renacimiento, MainArtist

2022 Ansonia Records 2022 Ansonia Records

8
Hipnosis
00:04:34

Meridian Brothers, MainArtist - Eblis Alvarez, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - El Grupo Renacimiento, MainArtist

2022 Ansonia Records 2022 Ansonia Records

9
La mujer sin corazón
00:04:26

Claudio Ferrer, Composer, Lyricist - Meridian Brothers, MainArtist - Eblis Alvarez, Producer - El Grupo Renacimiento, MainArtist

2022 Ansonia Records 2022 Ansonia Records

Album Description

Eblis Álvarez is at it again. The composer/arranger/multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist in the studio version of Bogota's Meridian Brothers has long been creating a deeply personal, musical mythology in which he collaborates with fictional musicians from the sound worlds of vallenato, cumbia, champeta, and porro and engages them with psychedelia, electronica, and post-punk. On Meridian Brothers y Grupo Renacimiento, he conjures the ghosts from a '70s-era "salsa dura" band that never existed. The term "salsa dura" refers to a style of salsa that emphasized instrumental charts over lead vocals (think the Fania All-Stars). It follows directly from 2020's chiptune-flavored Cumbia Siglo XXI, titled for another fictional band, and released on New York's long-dormant Ansonia. Founded in 1949, the label was home to a diverse catalog ranging across Caribbean and Afro-Latin styles, from cha-cha, Cuban mambo, pachanga, and rhumba to merengue, música jíbara, plena, bomba, and danzon. Meridian Brothers y Grupo Renacimiento is Ansonia's first release since 1990. The album is a somewhat stripped-down affair, different from the maximal experiments of 2014's Salvadora Robot or 2017's Donde Estas Maria. It remains focused on son and salsa while engaging other styles. Lyrically, it critiques 21st century life, like an episodic Latin novella translated into salsa dura. In single "Metamorfosis," Artemio Morelia, Grupo Renacimiento's cantate and maquero, wakes to discover he has been transformed into a robot in a constantly connected world dissolving into trans-humanism. The driving congas and timbales are framed by call-and-response vocals and furious piano montunos. Opener "La Policia" touches on boogaloo and son as it engages neo-psychedelic Latin soul in highlighting police brutality and murder. The activist, anti-war "Bomba Atomica" quotes from Rubén Blades' "Pedro Navaja" in a jazzy salsa jam with a hypnotic piano vamp, treated vocals, electronic effects, and glorious improv between lead singer, chorus, and piano. Knotty, interlaced electric guitars introduce the furious "Descarga Profetica." The piano harmoniously dialogues with charging guitars while bongos, timbales, and congas become their own chorus. A layered vocal evokes the muse of Hermes Trimegistum (the Greek name for Egyptian god Thoth) and imagines a sweaty Bogotá salsa jam as an ancient algorithm referencing a prophecy from African lore, all while quoting from the Cuban classic "El Manisero" and bemoaning the corruptive effect of social media. "Hipnosis" delivers an orgy of percussion, montunos, and vocal harmonies that testify to the "greatness" of Grupo Renacimiento. Closer "La Mujer Sin Corazon" is humorously pessimistic, a midtempo jam that weds bomba, a West African guitar vamp, and música jíbara. Its narrative centers on a woman who claims anyone hurt by love "is dumb every time" amid a flurry of claves, timables, maracas, and spiky electric guitars. To underscore this entire dazzling, humorous outing, a short, cartoon mockumentary cementing the album's concept is included. With Meridian Brothers y Grupo Renacimiento, Álvarez has outdone himself. This is easily the tightest, most accessible, and musically forward album he's yet released.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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