[21] Los Amigos Invisibles – Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey Into Space

30 Aug

If King Sunny Ade is World Pop, this is World Dance. Not my favorite genre, but there is talent and thoughtful composition on display here which is not always the case.

Makes me want to get up and move much more than most so-called Dance music.

Arepa 3000

Arepa 3000











The start of the album is a literal launch – into complex drum rhythms and synthesizer melody.

The vocals are smooth and low and, often as not, very repetitive, with a spiky guitar sometimes peeking around the lyrics like in a good funk band. It is less a journey through space, more one through time as at various moments the sound is mainstream 60s then 90s college rock, 70s disco then 80s synth-pop. And always returning to a distictly latin groove.

It is relentless, never letting up for a moment. I rarely enjoy the heavy synthesizer sound that takes the lead from time to time here, but the other layers of instrumentation are pleasing enough that I can ignore the occasional grating artificiality.

It is toe tapping – I find my attention grabbed every time the guitarist starts noodling – and the overall feeling is one of fun.

There seems to be something missing for me, though. Perhaps it is the lack of focus, the fact that I can never pin down the sound, the era that the musicians are aiming at. There are better funk bands. There are better synth-pop outfits. And much of it sounds dated – although I am sure the sound is exactly what the band is aiming for.

Perhaps the problem is that I don’t *want* to like this one.

It becomes hard to argue how much Arepa 3000 grows on me over the weeks of coming back to it between other 1,000 Recording entries, other new favorites, other old friends.

Until we reach a track like “El Barro” with its generic club back beat that I hate so much it makes me want to punch something . . .

In all, it is a hot mess, a mix of styles and sounds and genres, but I am still bopping along, and I am for the most part happy to have it playing as I work.

The varied vocals, the odd moments of found sounds really are quite well showcased.

There is an upbeat vibe which grows and grows on repeated plays, brushing aside any worries about cohesion or logic, any preconception of genre. It is a Dance album that flirts with Rock and Hip Hop without really satisfying either genre, World music not of any one place.

The album is not so much timeless as it is out of time. It is a real oddity, which makes it worth a spin or two, although not something I am going to return to with any regularity.

However, I’ll be smiling and grooving whenever I do play it.

Owned before blogging? No. (1 of 21. 5%)
Heard before blogging? No. (3 of 21. 14%)
Recommend? Yes. (17 of 21. 81%)

Next Week: Albert Ammons & Meade “Lux” Lewis – The First Day

One Response to “[21] Los Amigos Invisibles – Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey Into Space”

  1. lavidaesunaboda August 30, 2013 at 4:26 PM #

    “La Vecina”, “Si estuvieras aquí” y “Mujer Policia” are my favorite songs from that álbum! Great music with high quality! Search for more cds of LAI like “Commercial” and the last one called “Repeat after me”, both with a lot of songs in anglo speaking. Que viva Venezuela 🙂

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