Mexican Institute of Sound, Soy Sauce

James Sullivan

By James Sullivan

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

In the beach towns of Mexico, where rootless backpackers rub up against the modern jet set, the culture is equal parts strolling norteño and throbbing nightlife. Here's a band — one man's insatiable recording project, really — that finds virtue in such musical promiscuity.

Giddy sonic promiscuity from the Fatboy Slim of the cantina

Mexican Institute of Sound is the giddy blenderphonics of Mexico City's Camilo Lara, a major-label executive by day who turns into a crate-raiding DJ and electronic experimentalist by night. He's a cantina Fatboy Slim. On its third album, MIS picks up where the first two left off, mashing together traditional accordion with axle- rattling bass bombs ("Cumbia"), working a tuba sample into an irresistible jock jam ("Yo Digo Baila") and combining dirty processed guitar and some mighty fine whistling in a song about a strip tease ("White Stripes").

The real brain-scrambler, however, is "Sinfonia Agridulce," a drowsy mariachi-style nod to the Verve's mega-hit "Bittersweet Symphony," which itself, of course, was rooted in an orchestral Stones sample. You don't have to eat the worm to attempt to fathom so many layers of cultural extrapolation: MIS's music is intoxication for its own sake.