Zemog / Zemog El Gallo Bueno

Zemog, el Gallo Bueno

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What happens if you mix Willie Colón with Eddie Van Halen? You get something like Zemog. Not so much salsa with a twist as twisted salsa, Abraham Gomez-Delgado is a kind of Latin Zappa, with an ear for the unusual and the unlikely, and a way of putting it all together. Listen to "Palo de Ron" for a prime example, with its Ventures-style surf guitar over some surging 4/4 drumming, with the brass making its point loudly, and bizarre treated vocals, all pushed along by some brilliant cuatro playing. "Murcielago" stays within more familiar territory, although the trombone solo has more to do with vintage soul music than salsa. Zemog (which, handily, is Gomez backwards) mixes things up in a liberal fashion; the strange thing is, it works, even when it shouldn't. Fans of traditional salsa might have a problem with this record, since traditional doesn't figure anywhere into the sound. But those of a more adventurous nature will enjoy it. And keep it going for the unlisted 13th track -- which will come as a surprise.

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