Meridian Brothers / Conjunto Media Luna - Paz En La Tierra
From the first moments of the Meridian Brothers’ new album, Paz En La Tierra, you can hear that something is different. The band—which is just Colombian musician Eblis Álvarez unless playing live—has teamed up with Conjunto Media Luna’s Iván Medellín for the new album. Centered on Medellín’s accordion, the resulting album draws heavily from traditional vallenato, an Afro-Indian-European music from Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Fans of outre-cumbia are treated to the folkier forebear of the ‘60s-and-onward cumbia canon Alvarez usually sounds like he’s drawing from. Colombian merengue (not to be confused with Dominican merengue) and other Caribbean forms like son are all fed into the Medellín-Álvarez machine. But even though hand percussion and accordion have replaced the dubby swells, nasally synths and programmed drums that characterize Álvarez’s work with both the Meridian Brothers and Frente Cumbiero, Paz En La Tierra’s songs still look forward to an anxious future. It may be in the shape of Colombian paseo, but the song “La Conquista de Outros Planetas” is actually about space colonists conquering other planets. Out today on Bongo Joe Records, Paz En La Tierra is, both at first glance and twelfth glance, a kinda weird left turn by Meridian Brothers. But then, their formula starts with ear-worming micromelodies, anchored by headbobbing basslines and then is washed over in weird left turns. Paz En La Tierra has an abundance of all three.