Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ozomatli: The Future of Rock and Roll (or Hip Hop or Funk or Salsa...)

It's been a while since The Bear wrote about Californian music. I thought about going old school with The Beach Boys, The Turtles, or some local jazz. Then I thought about going modern pop or rock, but nothing came immediately to mind. What's California sound in 2007? Then, the band that (to my ears) fits the definition of modern California sound came to mind, "Welcome to Ozomatli. Version 12.0." (From their website:)
Rested, revived, and ready for the next level.
On the surface, nothing’s changed. There’s the same core line-up, the same oppositional politics, the same live shows that erupt into drum-line blessed community parties, and the same devotion to polyglot urban sound clashing. But here’s what’s new: after 12 years of collaborative song-writing, 12 years of constant touring everywhere from Denver to Tokyo to Sydney, 12 years of supporting anti-war mobilizations and global human rights movements, 12 years of pioneering Spanish-English mash-ups of hip hop, salsa, cumbia, dub, and Middle Eastern funk, and most importantly, 12 years of facing up to internal battles and personal struggles, they’ve emerged anew with their fourth full-length studio album, Don't Mess With The Dragon, the band’s most cohesive, polished, and joyous record to date."
Some people say, "Give me just salsa or just hip hop. I don't want a blender band." I might have agreed until I heard Ozomatli perform live. First, they do each style very well. Second, their "polyglot urban sound clashing" really works. They've been doing it for over a decade, and their beat and sound is tight. No doubt, there are imitators. But if you're looking for a good band that combines many strands of contemporary Californian music, you can't go wrong with Ozomatli.


Anonymous said...

Disagree. Ozomatli was never the same since Chali 2na left.

Anonymous said...

i heard them from i think a warped tour album somewhere. sounds promising.