happy seis de mayo

cinco de mayo was a bit of a bust in my neighborhood, despite the rampant multi-culturalism. i've got a lot of mexican neighbors and was expecting a more raucous celebration or even some kind of block party with fireworks, maybe a pinata, or if i was lucky, some mariachi music.

granted the weather was iffy for most of the day, but it had cleared up by evening. all i really got was the carrying bass and echos of some bad mexican pop music (and trust me, most of it is bad. from my observations, it's basically polka beats with trumpets and no "opa!").

so, a day late, i pulled out some of the mexican music in my library, which for the aforementioned reasons, is admittedly limited. besides, it would be an affront to my heritage to do too much celebrating the mexican victory over the french.

basically, "the mexican music in my library" amounts to the soundtrack to y tu mama tambian, the compelling "coming of age" film directed by Alfonso Cuarón (who also directed the prisoner of azkaban). much like the film itself, the soundtrack is very worthwhile, featuring an eclectic mix of genres and styles that perfectly capture the many themes of the movie.

from the hard-driving (and most definitely explicit) rap of molotov vs dub pistols ('here comes the mayo' ranks as #11 of my all-time most played songs) to the mellow samba of smokey and miho (yes, that miho. she gets around). and of course, there's the bran van 3000.

this movie and soundtrack have come to have special meaning for me. my girlfriend (now wife) and i managed to see a special screening of the film at USC during the brief period i lived in los angeles. it was a time of separation and angst for us and she was visiting from florida. we both found the film so captivating that we couldn't stop talking about it and recommending it. and to this day we still love it.

March 22-25 – propellerheads, tosca, bonobo, the plan and bran van

i spent the past few days in boston and have some sore legs and about 330 photos to show for it. i had fun; boston has earned a place on my ‘favorite cities’ list, which includes pittsburgh, paris, and the strip in vegas. the side effect, of course, is that outside of my normal daily routine, i had far less opportunity to tunequest. so now, i’m officially behind schedule. whereas before this trip, i had to listen to 45 songs per day to be done by 1/1/07, i now must listen to 46. hopefully, i can make up the lost time in the coming week.

what did i listen to in beantown?

  • propellerheads [decksanddrumsandrockandroll]
  • bjork [all is full of love]single
  • bonobo [animal magic]
  • tosca [dehli 9 disc 1]
  • the dismemberment plan [change]
  • mouse on mars [actionist]single
  • bran van 3000 [discosis]
  • blur [13]

propellerheads: excellent big beat electronic music that channels the above-mentioned james bond sound and seemingly anonymously took the world be storm in 1998-99.

tosca: dehli 9 is perhaps the finest example of downtempo electronica in my collection. this side project of dorfmeister’s (of kruder & dorfmeister) is about as upbeat and groovy as downtempo gets. this disc is energic and jazzy.

bonobo: more downtempo electronic, but slower and with a flair of india.

dismemberment plan: this was the first plan album i heard and it is also the group’s last. having heard the previous records, i must say that the band’s trajectory was ever upward. musically more complex and lyrically engaging than anything to date, this album rocks.

the prognosis is discosisand finally, bran van 3000. discosis is an inventive album that features some very slick song-writing and an impressive array of guest stars. unfortunately, the record was slated for american release about a month after the beastie boys grand royal record label collapsed. thus, this expression of musical genius remains hard to find in the states. don’t ask, if you find it, buy it.