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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey Into Space (Luaka Bop, 2000)


I was one of the fortunate ones who were at the Conga Room in Los Angeles, on February 23rd, 2001: The first time I saw Amigos Invisbles playing another gig of their spectacular American Tour. A 90-minute-set of danceable Disco-Latin-Acid-Jazz music. They're not the Beatles, but I think they could easily take United States and the World by storm if they work really hard promoting masterpieces like Arepa 3000.
The Conga Room was filled with people from United States and Latin America. Dancing boys and girls feelin' the adrenaline pumpin' thru their veins. Amigos Invisibles provided the most danceable music I heard in quite a while. David Byrne -the leader of Luaka Bop records, that World Music Seeker label which presented peruvian singer Susana Baca to the World- made a good decision signing Amigos Invisibles into his record label. These guys play real dance music based in latin and acid jazz rhytms without gimmicks, loops and programmings. Their Live Concert was a real Live one.
They don't need a DJ, they sweat when they play and, if you want to know, all the lyrics they sing are about sex and dance, sex and dance, and sex and dance -with the distinguished exception of "El Barro"-. They play in a sexy, agressive, funky way, full of new ideas. They don't need gimmicks and tricks for express their musical ideas. That's valid. Very valid. "Que Rico" is pure disco with latin rhythm arrangements and a cool synth constructing the melody line. "Llegaste Tarde", the last track of the CD, is recorded as an AM radio broadcast -trimming low and high ends- to give the sensation of being listening our grandfather's big radio in the living room.
Oh, yes, this album is full of surprises. Arepa 3000 is also a parody of a "concept" space album about a Venezuelan spaceship that orbits the earth. The spaceship carries this CD as a sample of what Venezuela is, and this sample is supposed to be found by aliens in thousands of thousands of years beyond (pretty much like the Voyager probe, launched in 1977 with songs like Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" ready to rock the cosmos).
Well, that's what LAI are about to do in the future: rule the "world music" scene standing on a higher ground, with their distinctive venezuelan style. And I think and hope they will make it.
This CD is slightly better recorded than the other one for Luaka-Bop, New Sound of the Venezuelan Gozadera, and it's like a sequel to it. Anyways, It'll live in your CD player for a while, and you'll want to get more of their music.