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Jorge Campos - Machi  CD (album) cover


Jorge Campos

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Re-released in late 2007, Jorge Campos' "Machi" is a very important item since it testifies how creative is the avant-garde side of jazz-rock nowadays in South American countries. The musical world of Campos is miles apart from the trends of Congreso and Fulano (the most popular bands that he's been part of), stating a challenging mixture of electro-jazz, fusion, psychedelic progressive and world music. Campos uses his wide array of bass guitars (fretted and retless, 4-, 5-, 6-stringed) to build rhythmic structures, basic riffs, solos, harmonic ornaments, complement some percussive or keyboard arrangements. all this and more. The relentless pace at which the bass guitars define their presence in the overall sound makes the lack of a profound melodic approach not a minus but a peculiar characteristic: very clearly Campos sees his musical essence as one centered on atmospheres and cadences. Stanley Clarke and Tony Levin may be mentioned as major points of reference for both his style and writing strategy. 'Horrísono' kicks off the album on a certain creepy note, but mostly, quite vivacious. 'Mapocho' displays more tenuous moods, definitely mysterious: it's a pity that it lasts only 2 minutes, since it has a catchy feel. For 'Bendición' the folk. woodwinds and percussions assume the leading role, while 'Octatón' stands on a more conventional funk-infected jazz territory. These first 11 minutes are more than enough to reveal us the wide array of sonorities that Campos is interested in exploring. 'Gil-Hop' offers a somewhat humorous mixture of hip-hop and acid-jazz, although the amazing bass phrases displayed on this number luckily spoil any potential chance of frivolity. The longest piece is 'Alturas', also being the most ethereal: the cosmic ambiences fluidly sustained on a recurring blues tempo make a highlight. The sense of monotony is actually very tricky - it isn't hard to detect the emergence of atmospheric variations all through the consistent tempo. 'Toques de lo Esencial' is less dense and includes a beautiful upright bass solo that seems to float above the programmed rhythm section. 'Amarillelou' is yet another majestic exercise on prog-oriented electro- jazz: it kind of follows the trend of 'Alturas', but with enhanced colors. 'Smog' brings back the catchiness of 'Octatón', as will do 'Kachatelovni' later on. 'A Marvada Carnee' is a cybernetic reconstruction of Brazilian festive rhythms, with yet another stellar bass solo developing in the middle; this line of electronic ethnic work is continued on 'Amor en Stell@r (Hot Copilot)'. Another highlight in the album is 'Zátrapa', which sounds like a homage to mid-70s Hancock. The album's official repertoire ends with the title track, very oriented to the scheme of musique concrete - it may sound like the hypothetical soundtrack to a Jean Cocteau movie. The Luna Negra re-release includes live renditions of 'Mapocho', 'Octatón', 'Zátrapa' and 'Horrísono': with the warmth of a live setting and the extra energy of the supporting musicians, all these tracks acquire extra doses of power and expansion: this live sequence serves as an excellent closure for this excellent album.
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Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink

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