Meridian Brothers, “El Gran Pajaro De Los Andes”

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 05.21.14 in Listen to This

A dizzying collision of past and future, “El Gran Pájaro De Los Andes” works from a base of traditional Latin music — in this case, cumbia — but freaks it out and contorts it, resulting in music that sounds strange and futuristic, a kind of hologram version of classic cumbia’s flesh-and-blood human. The organs wobble like theremin, the guitars are strange and slack-key, and the entire song is stunningly inventive, making familiar organic sounds weirdly plasticine — the soundtrack to a cocktail lounge in deep space.