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Oxomaxoma - Obras Completas 1980-1997 (Complete Works) CD (album) cover





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Exa Gerardo
4 stars At last! After 20 years or more of absence, the members of Oxomaxoma had decided to make available again this long lost out of print albums, 3 of the 4 of them, for the first time on CD format, as they were originally released as cassettes. This really nice compilation, serves to those interested in their history, as a general viewpoint of their most active period. As it has been a tradition in the group, this is a limited, numbered self-released edition, with each album presented on a gatefold paper sleeve on mini LP Japanese fashion, with a booklet containing pictures and biographical data in Spanish. All this contained on a hard case promo box. Oxomaxoma's music has been always difficult to classify, they're for sure the most Avant-Garde unit on the Mexican scene, with a primal propose of obtaining music through the recording of household objects passed through diverse electronic effects, self-made or toy instruments, as well as weird vocal improvisations in a Zeuhl fashion, sometimes using a nonsense language, sometimes with no words at all. There is also an overall Ambient Music feature, but it is in fact on a dark mysterious mood. Members of the group had pointed out Can, Magma, Popol Vuh, Ligetti, Braxton, Free Jazz and even H.P. Lovecraft, as their main influences.

EN EL NOMBRE SEA DE DIOS (In God's Name Be / 1980-1990) Is the first of these CD's, originally released on 1990, compiles the experimental work of their first 10 years and features various guest musicians, improving the sound of the group with violin, cello, woodwinds, among others, the main feature on this one is Arturo Meza (from Decibel), a musician long dedicated to the rescue of prehispanic instruments, who has also worked on self-made instruments, as the yeloguerlizet used here. In general terms this is a varied album, full of novel sounds, with a main focus on prehispanic music and mistycism.

LAS PESADILLAS DE EUSTAQUIO RAHAN (Rahan Eustachian Nightmares / 1991) In their second studio effort, we find the group reduced to its very core, being the duo of José Alvarez and Arturo Romo. This is a series of 11 improvisations with a more uniform sound, evolving into the Ambient side of the group, without leaving behind the prehispanic elements. A general sense of mystery and darkness wanders around this album, echoes, solemn marches, abandoned places, pieces of rusty iron grinding.

UN DIFUNTO LLENO DE VIDA (A Deceased Full of Life / 1994) Originally recorded on 1992, as far as I know, this is the live rendition of their third studio album "La Sombra de un Difunto" (The Shadow of a Deceased / 1994) which is the missing piece on this puzzle. My guess is they picked up the live version, to have some of their live work represented on the set, which is obviously very fresh and full of improvisation. On this phase, the group is augmented to a trio, moving slightly into a rock aesthetic, with the electric guitar of Victor Méndez, bass players as guests, and even some sax in two of the tracks.

SIN BOCA CON LOS OJOS NEGROS (Without Mouth With Black Eyes / 1997) This is the only album previously available on CD format, but it has also been unavailable for a long time now. If there is one album to be called Oxomaxoma's masteripiece, this should be the one. Now established as a quartet and added with an excellent choice of guest musicians, mainly José Luis Fernandez Ledesma (Nirgal Vallis) on keyboards, José Manuel Aguilera (Nine Rain) on guitar and the vocalist Maria Elena Durán, the group delivers 9 compositions with a perfect blend between their experimental past, and the technical experience achieved by all the musicians involved. The result is a refined, polished version of their sound, without leaving behind the alienation and marginality so present in his previous works.

For more details on each album, I'm currently working on track by track reviews, just have a little patience if you don't find some of them yet. For the record, there are three more albums on Oxomaxoma's discography, I've already mentioned "La Sombra de un Difunto", there's also "Live at MAM" (1994) originally recorded in 1990 and edited as a cassette in Italy, and the last one "Espíritus en Rojo y Negro" (2002) in which 6 of the 10 tracks are rerecorded versions from the best tracks in their history, this one is also a good starting point, and it's still easy to get doing a little search on the internet, but I truly believe the opportunity to get one of this box sets won't last for long. This is available thru the group members via facebook, just do an "oxomaxoma" search give them a "like" and mail them.

Exa Gerardo | 4/5 |


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