Return of El Santo

The Return of El Santo

by King Changó
     
 

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In the years since King Changó's 1996 debut, the world of Latin alternative music has exploded, and what was once cutting edge -- the mixing of Latin rhythms with Two-Tone ska, for example -- has become commonplace (one could argue that Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" is the most successful Latin ska track in history). So…  See more details below

Overview

In the years since King Changó's 1996 debut, the world of Latin alternative music has exploded, and what was once cutting edge -- the mixing of Latin rhythms with Two-Tone ska, for example -- has become commonplace (one could argue that Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" is the most successful Latin ska track in history). So what's left for New York's self-styled Latin ska champions? Plenty. For Return of El Santo -- the title name-checks the masked legend of Mexican wrestling -- the band fold in styles from dub to lovers' rock to drum 'n' bass, hip-hop, and beyond. And from the celebratory first track, "Finalmente" -- a hooky melánge of samba shuffle, turntable scratches, piano montuno, and ragga chant -- Changó sink every stylistic basket they aim for. It's a measure of their musical growth that the album's two standout tracks are markedly dissimilar. "Brujería" features the folkloric strumming of a quinto, then breaks down into an exhilarating joropo for real South American roots flavor. Hot on its heels comes the skittering "Tuvera D-Trip," the most successful stab at Latin jungle since Sidestepper's immortal Logozo (Sidestepper mainman Richard Blair is one of the bevy of remixers and producers on board). From these twin high points, Santo slides somewhat into a frenetic blur of Latin and reggae that alternates as frequently as Blanco jumps between Spanish and English. But the lovely ballad and live favorite "Sin Ti," with its Billy Joel-inspired chorus, and sitar-spiced trip-hop breakdown "Lil Sister" leave enough surprises. As do Changó's roster of collaborators, which includes the Ozomatli horn section and rapper Baby Powa of MTV's Lyricists Lounge. It may have taken four years, but the Kings are back, and they're ready to rumble.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Peggy Latkovich
Just when it seemed that ska was in danger of becoming a dot on the horizon, King Chango comes roaring back. Hardcore ska is only part of what this hot New York Latin band is about, however. Dub, trip-hop, punk, and drum'n'bass are all slammed together with reckless abandon. The resulting sound is a relentless assault on the senses that leaves the listener exhausted and ultimately satisfied. It's been four years since the band's self-titled debut, and they've spent the time exploring the edges of the gutsy, eclectic sound that they laid down on that one. Here they experiment more with electronic manipulation of sounds, giving the whole a trippier, more ambient, but no less muscular edge. The crisp, powerful percussion and wailing horns are still there, as are the precise, rapid-fire vocals. The joyous "Finalmente" kicks things off with a solid groove laid down by percussion, scratching, and charango. The charango also drives the tropical craziness of "Brujeria," a number that draws on Venezuelan roots. "What Politicians Say" is a rabble-rousing, reggae-tinged political rant. They do manage to mellow things out a bit with "Sin Ti," a ballad shored up with smooth horns and cheesy organ. But even on this one, there is a brief growling dub interlude. "Step Me Down" is an industrial tour de force, with screaming horns, factory-sounding clanks, and electronic beeps and swoops. The Return of El Santo is a strong sophomore release, and is worth the long wait.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/28/2005
Label:
Luaka Bop
UPC:
0680899003827
catalogNumber:
90038
Rank:
220955

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

King Changó   Primary Artist
Richard Blair   Piano
Ulises Bella   Tenor Saxophone
Asdrubal Sierra   Trumpet
Asfru Sierra   Trumpet
Jose Espinoza   Alto Saxophone
Babee Power   Background Vocals
DJ Dodgie   scratching
JB Eckl   Guitar
Funjimenez   Piano,Hammond Organ
Francisco Gallardo   Guitar,Guita Flé
John Pantle   Trombone
José Espinosa   Alto Saxophone

Technical Credits

David Byrne   Executive Producer
Richard Blair   Producer
Yale Evelev   Executive Producer
George Michailow   Booking
Jeff Poe   Engineer
KC Porter   Producer
Andrew Blanco   Art Direction,Illustrations,Photo Illustration
Doug McKeon   Producer
Darren Nash   Engineer
Blanquito Man   Producer
Ramo Nova   Producer
Darren Nash   Engineer

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