Hardcore cumbia. That’s what Will “Quantic” Holland loves. And that’s what he makes with Los Miticos Del Ritmo. Quantic takes a step into the Tardis and emerges with a sound that’s straight out of the 1960s, sweaty as a summer’s day in Bogota, and played with passion.
Quantic — a Brit who now lives in Colombia — has already shown he loves the music, both as a bandleader and assembler of the excellent compilation, The Original Sound of Cumbia. This time, he’s gone a step further, not only putting together a seven-piece cumbia lineup but recording them on analogue four-track tape. The results have all the joy of a collector discovering a hidden gem buried in bargain crates. There’s plenty of original material to shake up the dance floor, with the explosive “Cumbia Comejen” a stand out, percussion firing rapidly under Quantic’s accordion to create a thunderous sound. But it’s the eclectic choice of covers that offer some of the greatest thrills. There’s the cumbia classic “Fabiola,” which is given a convincingly raw reading, along with bubbling version of Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust.” But the heat climbs all the way to boiling on “No Pares Hasta Tener Lol Suficiente” — a raucous Latin take on Michael Jackson’s ’80s hit “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” The clarinet and accordion stir the pot together as the temperature rises and steams. It’s a stark contrast to “Satta Massa Cumbia,” where the Abyssianian’s reggae classic “Satta Massa Gana” gets the Colombia treatment, a thick bed of echoing sound that delves into dub, strands of music rising and falling though the mix — it’s a Jamaican dream of cumbia.
In an age of pristine sound, Los Miticos Del Ritmo are scuffed and scarred around the edges. That deliberate patina of age is part of its charm, but the real pleasure is the music that lies underneath.