‘Jallalla’ is a Bolivian word used to celebrate something and that is the mood Lagartijeando brings with his third studio album of the same name. The Argentine producer continues to weave the dance floor and his native village instruments and tongues into a heady and often experimental vibe. It’s never anything but a joyous celebration of music and life and that is why the music is so infectious.
‘Villazon-Potosi’ opens the album with South American percussive loops and beautiful village and rainforest ambience. You feel part of the ecosystem and the circle of rhythm that surrounds you. The woodwind and pipes are subtle and slow moving as if it’s opening a veil for what’s to come. ‘La Frontera’ bursts in with charango – a small Andean lute. It sounds like a cute ukelele but also sounds full bodied. Joined with Minuk from the excellent Lulacruza to provide vocals, the track is a joyous celebration indeed. The charango is a mainstay here and in the fabulous ‘Anoranza en las Yungas’ where the woodwind and various synths swirl around each other.
‘Cana’ starts the move towards more experimental beats and sounds. Working with Chancha Via Circuito the bass-heavy riffs warble around dog barks, strange chant samples and celestial synths. ‘Adios Potosi’ moves towards a slower pace with beautiful lute filled layered melody. As the animal sounds and rustling percussion sludge in and out it’s very much the turning point of the album away from the traditional instruments and towards something more dance floor and synth-based.
‘Chakana Cosmica’ is like an Argentine Royksopp at points. It continually speeds up its drum loops and sounds as if its winding up the cosmos. ‘A Todo Pai’ then brings in singer Javier Arce for a pop-rock track. The guitars, brass and electronics may be at the fore but all the instruments and subtle noises and textures still remain. It is the key to making sure the track doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. Its also as catchy as hell and Javier sounds like a South American Brendan Perry.
‘Milenio’ is like a meditation drone for the dance floor. It’s smooth beats and synths swirl around two chords softly whilst thumb pianos caress the main melody out. ‘Titiwanacu’ playfully switches between different tempos as if it’s conducting a campfire dance. When the charango, drums, pipes and vocals all come together in the final third at full speed it is absolutely glorious. The album closes with a return to the dancefloor dubs with a percussion and bass led finale in ‘As Mortes das Matas. It has echo pops that act as the main melody maker and the whole track is like hitting the deepest depths of a trance. There is a section where the entire track slows to an elongated pause and its the audio equivalent of the best morning stretch you’ve ever had.
Just as I fell in love with Largartijeando in 2017 with the amazing ‘El Grand Poder’, he has struck gold again with ‘Jallalla’. It is some of the best examples of mixing modern day technology with traditional instruments. Lagartijeando also manages to completely avoid anything feeling world fusion like as it all feels truly authentic and real. This is your summer album. Go buy it.
Recommended track: La Frontera feat Minuk
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