Friday, April 3, 2009

Space Is the Place

Editor's note: Somehow The Typing Monkey missed this sophomore release from Coconot, a band now known primarily for being the "other" music endeavor of El Guincho (aka Pablo Diaz-Reixa). Coconot's debut (which we also missed) came out in 2005, Cosa Astral was released in the U.S. in November '08.

Cosa Astral
"Verbena de los Delfines," the third song on this nine-track disc, bursts forth like a spray of confetti in the ears. After a jaguar growls, birds sing and a tropicália beat skips into the picture, drunk with percussion, double bass and chanting vocals. This song, and the album, captures that tipsy, tomorrow-be-damned mindset of the gloriously intoxicated.

The final tune, "Miles de Ojos," comes on like tourists attempting to sing along with the natives at a beach bonfire. Indeed, the whole of Cosa Astral is a disorienting trip to foreign places. And "foreign" here does not indicate Barcelona, where the trio formed, nor Brazil, from where much of the musical influence flows, but destinations beyond both the grasp of Earth's gravity and the boundaries of this dimension, just as the album title implies.

That's not meant to sound so much like tossed off (read: lazy) record-review speak. As weird as Coconot gets, multi-instrumentalist sidemen Jens Neumaier and Cristian SubirĂ  keep Diaz-Reixa's tendency toward conflicting rhythms in check ... barely.

Eventually some university musicologist will dissect Cosa Astral in detail. It is the album as new species -- exotic only because it seems to exist in an environment unavailable to most of us. This music can be parsed, but that won't make it any less splendid.

Reference material: We'd be remiss not to mention Os Mutantes, especially in their less Beatle-esque mode. There are echos (ha!) of Liquid Liquid and A Certain Ratio, as well as the in-love-with-sound brashness of Esquivel too -- which is no surprise given El Guincho's sampling of his work. Just give Coconot a listen.