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 World Music Review: Ozomatli, `Embrace the Chaos'

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Aug 07, 2002
On the newest installment in my Adequacy series on world music releases, I review Mexican group Ozomatli's debut release, Embraza el Caos (a title which the US release has conveniently translated to Embrace the Chaos).

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Ozomatli is an 8-piece group from a Mexican village, Los Ángeles, too small to figure in the maps of Mexico I have consulted. These guys are very far from your average Mexican band; with Ozomatli, we are very clearly in presence of a very important development, one which takes us beyond the stereotypes of Mexican music.

Ozomatli is very clearly a progressive Mexican band. This is in evidence from the first thing one notices from the photo of the band in the back of the CD: they are joining the mainstream of the civilized world and abandoning clunky, ethnic acoustic instruments with strings fashioned out of disgusting substances obtained by torturing animals, and adopting the drum kit, bass and electric guitar format sweeping the music world, after long being a mainstay of American performers such as Rod Stewart.

Granted, Ozomatli still hasn't had the opportunity to completely shed all of its ethnic instrumentation. This is understandable for a band with origins as humble as theirs; while three of the eight members can obviously play American instruments competently, the rest stick to funny drums used to communicate with heathen African gods, cowbells, or brass instruments (which are obviously can't be made electric; brass is a metal, it'd electrocute the performers!). But those five guys have to do something to eat, after all; better have them earn a semi-decent living playing such trinkets and baubles than have them sneak drugs across the militarized US-Mexico border.

The album, as it happens, has a "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" label on it. Most of the songs have titles in Spanish, so it doesn't really matter, since the songs are most likely in Spanish and neither you nor your kids will be able to understand what they say.

Needless to say, I am really looking forward to listening to this groundbreaking album from this electrified rural Mexican band, and sincerely hope this small step towards civilization eventually be followed by big strides.

Rating: 3 out of 5 tacos (Has electric instruments, but the guys sing in Spanish).


Headphones are useful (none / 0) (#3)
by Juan Fernandez on Wed Aug 7th, 2002 at 11:29:57 AM PST
"...the songs are most likely in Spanish and neither you nor your kids will be able to understand what they say..."

Sure, but don't play it too loud if you have Spanish neighbours as the lyrics in this kind of music are most likely phrases like "kill your fucking white neighbours with an axe and then drink their blood, they are playing this CD with a HIFI more expensive than yours" and stuff like that. In fact it is not surprising at all given the fact that Mexicans are too lazy to sing if they are not soaked on tequila, stoned and chewing peyote balls.

You misspelled our name, troll! (5.00 / 1) (#4)
by KingAzzy on Wed Aug 7th, 2002 at 11:58:54 AM PST
I am not impressed at your blatant disregard to the proper spelling of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciúncula.

Post an apology immediately or I will call all seven million Mexicans living here to rise up in arms against you in a holy Jihad to stamp out whitey everywhere you might find him.

Thank you, Mister! (Gracias, Chamaco!) (none / 0) (#5)
by Juan Fernandez on Wed Aug 7th, 2002 at 12:35:40 PM PST
This reinforces what I said in my previous comment about you Mexicans. I can hardly understand why honest USA population let you inmigrate there. You must be a really cheap source of manpower for mines, nuclear plants and pizza delivering.

excelent (none / 0) (#6)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 10:18:58 PM PST
I was just thinking about buying a Mexican CD.

Women love it when you tell them you are listenning to music from these guys in a small Mexican village somewhere. Unfortunately, most music of this kind is not very good because Mexicans are not familiar with American technology and recording standards.

This group sounds like it is almost up to American standards. Now I can make the ladies happy without hurting my ears.

hoists (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Aug 9th, 2002 at 12:52:25 PM PST
These guys rock. I saw them play a large venue once where they walked through the crowd to get up to the stage. They left through the crowd, too, and some of us followed them out to the parking lot to watch them jam. Then the pigs riding horses came, and tried to step on us. I fucking hate horses.

yo (none / 0) (#8)
by tkatchev on Fri Aug 9th, 2002 at 01:50:39 PM PST

Peace and much love...

I saw them at Glasto (none / 0) (#9)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Aug 12th, 2002 at 12:39:23 PM PST
I didnt see you mention that they are generally classified as "Jazz", or at least they appeared on the Jazzworld stage at Glastonbury.

Well worth it, like, yea...

no sweat

Ozomatli is great (none / 0) (#10)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Aug 19th, 2002 at 08:48:09 AM PST
And your "review" sucks. But hey, what can you expect from guys like Adequacy lol. They're not your average Mexican band indeed, they have very obvious hiphop influences, and use other "ethnic" instruments besides the typical mexican ones, actually they're like dozens of genres wrapped up into a nice little piñata. And i know i'm bumping the shit out of my Ozomatli piñata, because it's sweet like candy (can you tell i like to speak in metaphores?). I like their first album better though. Mainly because Chali 2na (from Jurassic 5) is a great rapper, making the hiphop cuts on that album to the best in its genre. I'd even go as far as to say that they're a betterlive hiphop band than The Roots. But then again, they're not really hiphop... Still, embrace the chaos is definately worth giving a listen CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITE many audio clips so you can hear for yourself.

and.....then... (none / 0) (#11)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Aug 20th, 2002 at 12:22:43 AM PST
and what about Cut Chemist????? eh? Let us not forget the turnalistic stylings of this young man on the 1's and 2's, bring'n it live like sweet georgia peach pie. But again, is never gonna get this band right for they just don't have the knowledge, and are about as hip as capri pants and mathew perry (or any "friend" for that matter).

Vermin. (none / 0) (#13)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Aug 21st, 2002 at 12:48:19 AM PST
You, sir, represent everything I hate about LA.

Ozomatli Aren't Mexican, Moron (none / 0) (#14)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Aug 25th, 2002 at 02:12:24 PM PST
World Music? Ozomatli are from Los Angeles, not Mexico. Not all of their memebers are even Latino, let alone Mexican. Next time maybe try reading the liner notes, or lookinmg at their website.


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