Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ozomatli - Don't Mess With The Dragon

Ian Mann reviews Ozomatli's "Don't Mess With The Dragon".
Formed in 1995 Ozomatli are a ten strong aggregate of musicians from Los Angeles who fuse music from several traditions into one energetic whole. Their sound has the primal urgency of the best rock music but has a substantial Latin influence as well as drawing on funk, hip-hop and world music elements.

The band’s edgy energy and multi racial line up presents a vivid snapshot of cosmopolitan Los Angeles. Their music is an explosive cocktail and their performances have won them a substantial following in the US and further afield, although they remain relatively little known in the UK. However, on the evidence of this album a recent British tour should have done much to raise their profile. This is a hard gigging band who tour extensively.

With twelve tracks crammed into forty minutes there is no flab on this record. From the rousing opener "Can’t Stop" to the closing "La Segunda Mano" the pace rarely flags. The music is highly rhythmic and with two percussionists and a kit drummer it has tremendous drive. Besides conventional rock instrumentation the band also make extensive use of horns, turntables and rap vocals. It’s all in there. This is a band with attitude as encapsulated in the rapping on "City Of Angels".
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