Here I am again, everyone! I am beaming in to your mind’s voice from an undisclosed location in central North Carolina. What the fuck?!? I sometimes will have a nanosecond to think for a nanosecond about the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen and done. Two things come to mind in the context of Summertime and warm weather. A trip in 2001 to Havana, Cuba with a lot of Ecstasy (drug) and another trip to a small island in the Caribbean (not disclosing to protect my friend there, whom, might be about dead or completely so by now) in 2003 where I met a local drug dealer the first night of my trip who went by the name, “The Captain”, who actually was a boat fisherman. There is something about the tropical climate that makes me want to get high as possible and on these two adventures I wish I could have been able to play the latest record by The Meridian Brothers called Desesperanza on the Soundway label.
This is a piece that for some there will be no tolerance. Those folks might be metal heads, or hip hop fans, or old punkers and rockers who all tend to hate “world music”. *yawn*
Now, to others this might sound like the most otherworldly fun you’ve heard since Sun City Girls or Fela Kuti which is a perfect place to intersect and try to convey the FEELING of the compositions and sound on this record. All the songs are strictly traditional Latin rhythms such as salsa, cumbia, and one other, but who gives a fuck? Certainly, this is Colombian music from the deep spaced out nightlife of Bogota and if that idea doesn’t intrigue you, it does me.
These are songs that bring to mind driving late on a summer night (alone or with others) after a night of drugging on the way to do some more drugging until dawn. Fun. This record is special in my mind because it makes me want to do drugs and party and this, for me, is something special indeed! I never know what record will trigger this seemingly natural reaction in my brain and body. Do you know what I’m talking about? This specific work could be by any band, but I do find in the last 10 years or so there have been few American bands that made me feel that way than those that have have been from Mexico, South America, Latin America, Africa, and so on. In these places there is TIME for mischief and magick. They have days and days of drugs and music making. This creates a party and atmosphere that the kids thrive (and die) in an extraordinary way. The Meridian Brothers are a hallucinatory party, y’all. They make music to hallucinate to; defy gravity to; to trip balls to and with others, more than likely. Sure I could talk about the singular mind from which this music emanates and his genius, but I won’t even name him as it is less important than the worlds to which his music could take you. I’ve read all about this guy since buying the vinyl version of Desesperanza a couple of months ago and he’s playing all the instruments, writing all the music, and creating the neosounds found within a context that could be considered old music. Turkish psychedelic music from the 60’s has this ability to sound old and new (even now) at the same time. Woven through this acoustic/electronic trance traditional zombie music are the tones of Sun Ra materializing from nowhere like a spectre and then an electronic voice that you have NEVER heard before. What makes this record not just another “world music” easy listening turd are the abundance of NEW sounds! That’s right, unheard and uncharted aural territory with acoustic/electronic computer manipulations and experimentation that makes novel sonic firsts. Ironic how upon listening I just kept hearing the experimental music of my imagination (Sun Ra, Joe Meek and the Blue Men, The Beach Boys, Brian Eno, Parliament, etc.) Ladies and gentlemen this is a magnificent record that calls to your experimental mind and body to explore. Esquivel! Yeah, he does that, too; get high and wild even if only in your mind. Sly and Robbie as well as Lee “Scratch” Perry and Rick James make me want to step outside the box, if you will, and I have many many times. In fact, the next time I trip (which is rare these days) The Meridian Brothers are going to rip my skull off in the best way unimaginable.
P.S. Looks like The Meridian Brothers have a new record out, too!