It almost never fails: think to yourself just once, however quiet and solitary your thought, that by now you must have heard every type of music and instrumentation, and life is sure to drop on ya something that you’ve never heard before. El Gran Silencio has is that latest something new.
El Gran Silencio plays Mexican pop and rock, whipped as in a blender with other Mexican, Latin and world music. The group came together when brothers Tony and Cano Hernández, who share vocal and guitar duties, joined up with bassist Vulgar Hernandez, drummer Ezequiel Alvarado and Isaac Valdez, one of the absolute baddest accordion players you’ll ever hear. Weary of bumming around in rock bands, the brothers yearned to create a sound that combined Mexican roots with rock, hip-hop, world beat and Indian music. They remain in their original home base of Monterrey, Mexico – but their sound stretches from Mexico to Seattle, to Spain, to India, to New York City and Los Angeles, and to Columbia.
Super Riddim Internacional Volume 1 digs especially into cumbia and other root sounds of Columbian norteño music. “We found that there are many styles in Columbian music besides cumbia,” said Hernández. “In the new record we do a little Columbian merengue, puya, porro and paseo.” Other international sounds come from authentic instrumentation: Middle Eastern darbuka, African chekere and yambe, and Columbian guacharaca, plus turntables (scratched by DJ Macojazz, Tony’s trip-hop alter-ego).
There are even more styles spread throughout these 17 tracks: the Caribbean sound of reggae snakes throughout “Sound System Municipal” and combines with a more traditional sound of Mexico in “Recuerdo y Lluvia,” while the rhythm of ska gives “Songbomb” its energetic pulse. The big beat reggae rap “Ingratos Corazones” culminates in a glorious cacophony of accordion, big beat bass and drums, and turntable scratches. Turntables also blend with accordion in the cutting low-rider rap “El Espejo.”
The title track is a frantic scramble through the accordion equivalent of “Wipeout,” done barrio style, while “Recordar es Vivir” boasts trumpet lines that sound like Lester Bowie rockin' the barrio, too. On the lighter side, “Sueño” beautifully blends ballad forms of Mexico and Spain, and “Buenos Días” waves a warm and sunny greeting to a new day.