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Cybertropic Chilango Power

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Album Review

On their eponymous 1998 U.S. debut, Mexico's Los de Abajo established themselves as part of the burgeoning Latin alternative scene, heavily musically influenced by the frenetic beat of ska. The intervening time has seen them tour a lot and obviously grow a great deal. Cybertropic Chilango Power finds the roots intact but the horizons and ideas vastly expanded. Instead of keeping purely within the punk/alternative scene, they're capable at looking at other areas of Mexican music, including the more traditional ranchera, bolero, and corrido and embracing them — a case of looking forward by also looking backward. So while the ska beat throbs through "Si Existe Ese Lugar," and "Nada" sounds almost like a parody of standard Latin alternative, songs like "Anda Levanta" and "Vuelvo A Comenzar" see them forging in more acoustic directions and showing they're opening up to the music of Mexico that's around them. Add to that the found sounds of Mexico City — most especially from the circus — and you have what's really their vision of Mexico at the beginning of the third millennium. And what they see, quite obviously, is an interesting mix where the past and future come together and things can be quite bizarre. Really, this is the first album of their maturity, and it's impressive. They've retained their youthful energy, but added a layer of thought that takes them to an entirely new level.

Biography

Formed: 1992

Genre: Latino

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Springing out of Mexico City's increasingly fertile punk underground, Los de Abajo was formed by vocalist Liber Terán, guitarist Vladimir Garnica, bassist Carlos Cortez, saxophone player Damián Portugal, and keyboardist Carlos Cuevas plus percussionist/drummers Yocupitzio Arellano and Gabriel Elías. Originally playing Latin ska, the group became increasingly political and punk-inspired during 1993-1994. Los de Abajo recorded and released two cassette albums before being signed by Luaka Bop for their...
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Cybertropic Chilango Power, Los de Abajo
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