His Name Is Alive

Sound of Mexico

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Sound of Mexico is a brilliantly processed live disc, especially for the scale on which it was produced. Undoubtedly, it was put together on a shoestring budget (CDR format with hand-screened artwork). Beginning with a real Mexican radio ad for one of their shows in Mexico between 1993 and 1994, Sound of Mexico is the perfect rendering of His Name Is Alive at a pivotal point in their career. Occurring just after Mouth by Mouth and the experimental treasure King of Sweet, this marks the shedding of their extremely gauzy, trademark 4AD sound and their move into the depths of their wandering musical spirit. Warn Defever, the main man behind all that is His Name Is Alive, occasionally intersperses sections of Spanish dialogue into the mix to make it not just a live recording, but also a field recording of the band's excursions in Mexico. Judging by the track list alone, it's hard to make out exactly what material they are performing, as Defever titles a number of the tracks with sections of lyrics from other songs (ie. tracks "Tiger and Me" and "Count Your Spots" are both lyric sections from the band's 1998 disc Fort Lake.) Regardless of the arbitrary track titling, there is little overlap and few recognizable His Name Is Alive songs on the disc. It represents them at a fine point in their live career and stands as a signpost for where His Name Is Alive have been. They truly value performance as a creative forum, and they push that to its limit with tons of echoed repetition, clanging drum solos, and sparse improvisation.

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