Area 52

Area 52

by Rodrigo y Gabriela
5.0 1

CD(Bonus DVD)

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Area 52

From Re-Foc, their very first release in 2002, post-nuevo flamenco guitar duo Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero thumbed their noses at purist notions of flamenco. Having initially come from heavy metal, they wedded their new music to metal's pyrotechnics and the various folk styles of their native Mexico, creating a new genre in acoustic music. That said, Area 52 is unlike anything they have recorded before. The album began as simply an orchestral overview of tunes from their catalog to issue while they wrote new material, but it became something wholly other. Along with producer Peter Asher and arranger Alex Wilson (whose charts here are almost too fantastic to believe), they employed C.U.B.A., a 13-piece Cuban orchestra, and the diverse talents of several guests. Recording mainly in Havana, the duo, with C.U.B.A., set about completely reinventing RyG's songs. Take opener "Santo Domingo," with Los Van Van's Samuel Formell in the drum chair. Here, those acoustic guitars are augmented by strings, a whomping funky electric bassline, a full brass section, saxophone, and flute. They travel through fiery Afro-Cuban montunos and charging descargas wed seamlessly to their brand of flamenco. "Hanuman" features metal drummer John Tempesta in a frenetic son layered over flamenco before Santana-esque lead guitars and a full-fledged timba take the lead. Sitar great Anoushka Shankar helps out on "Ixtapa" by playing an illuminating solo amid the acoustic guitars and percussion section, before they force her to up the ante and improvise Latin style, touching on guaguanco. She responds fluidly and imaginatively; eventually, flamenco gets moved all the way over into salsa and Afro-Cuban jazz à la Machito! "11:11" highlights the gorgeous upright bass playing of guest Carlos Benavent (formerly of Paco de Lucía's group) and the chanted vocals of Carlota Teresa Noriega in call and response with the band. Sanchez's acoustic steel-string and electric lap steel guitar solos are delicious, too. The oud playing of Palestinian Le Trio Joubran on "Master Maqui" stands in contrast to Wilson's big horn charts (which are a dead cross between Gerald Wilson's and Tito Puente's). The ouds and guitars exchange fours and eights, getting kissed by a flute. Before things get too sweet, the horns blast in, ushering in a duel between ouds and guitars melding Middle Eastern and Latin musics. "Tamacun" reprises Tempesta on drums. It commences as a frenetic big-band flamenco with guitars, drums, and flute up front before things get whompy, and danzon and rumba make entrances and exits. While it would seem that nothing on Area 52 should work, it all does. What started out as simply an orchestral retrospective has become an entirely new Rodrigo y Gabriela album, one that showcases an even more startling range of musicianship. In sum, this album expands the very definition of musical collaboration.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/24/2012
Label: Ato Records
UPC: 0880882178024
catalogNumber: 217802
Rank: 48630

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rodrigo y Gabriela   Primary Artist
Carles Benavent   Bass,Guest Appearance
John Tempesta   Drums,Guest Appearance
Anoushka Shankar   Sitar,Guest Appearance
Alex Wilson   Piano,Hammond Organ
Feliciano Arango Noa   Bass
Trio Joubran   Oud,Guest Appearance
Edouardo J. Sandoval Ferrer   Trombone,Soloist
C.U.B.A.   Performing Ensemble,Chant
Samuel Formell Alfonso   Drums,Guest Appearance
Rene Suarez Zapata   Percussion,Soloist
Otto Santana Selis   Percussion,Drums,Cajon,Soloist
Lazaro A. Oviedo Dilou   Trumpet,Soloist
Juan Kemell Barrera Toledo   Trumpet,Leader,Soloist
Jorge Leliebre Sorzano   Flute,Soloist
Irving Roberto Frontelo Rico   Violin
Cesar Alejandro Lopez Martinez   Alto Saxophone,Soloist
Carlota Teresa Polledo Noriega   Vocals
Ariel Sarduy Mena   Violin
Anolan Gonzalez Morejon   Viola

Technical Credits

Peter Asher   Producer
Enrique Cruz   Guitar Techician
Nathaniel Kunkel   Engineer
Neil Williams   Engineer
Alex Wilson   Arranger,Musical Director
Emma Somers   Layout
Fermin Vazquez Llera   Producer,Engineer,Guitar Engineer,Pro-Tools
Rionagh MacNamara   Layout
Nicolas Rosemond   Engineer
Jorge Gabriel "Benny" Benitez Herrera   Engineer
John Lambert   Layout
Christina Angelina   Artwork

Customer Reviews

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Area 52 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MikYelad More than 1 year ago
This cd is excellent in all facets. Musicianship, arrangements and sheer energy make this one of RyG's best if not their best album. Also, buyers note that, at least currently, the cd also comes with a bonus dvd "The Making of Area 52. Making this one of the best deals in town and what will probably be one of the best albums in all genre's(I hate to use the term World Music since this cd is so much more than that)this year and it is only January!