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Crudo Pimento - Pantame Music Album Reviews

The unclassifiable Spanish duo span 1990s-inspired alternative rock, glitching electronic percussion, mournful Andalusian flamenco, and the dread empty spaces of post-punk.

Murcia, a city of half a million in the south of Spain, lies amid an expanse of arid scrubland, so it’s not entirely surprising that a homegrown variant of desert rock might flourish. Crudo Pimento—the duo of Raúl Frutos and Inma Gómez—have made that music for a while now, recording unconventional takes on psychedelia and blues and Mexican son jarocho on homemade instruments, singing in Spanish and English and sometimes French, howling as often as they sing—sounding sometimes like an Andalusian Tom Waits or an Iberian Beefheart—with all the hardscrabble panache of a pair of frontier outlaws.

Pantame, which the group recorded in the Brooklyn studio of Marco Buccelli, a drummer and producer who has worked extensively with the New York singer-songwriter Xenia Rubinos, marks a shift. It’s not quite desert rock, though it’s hard to define exactly. A chance brush with the album’s lead single, “Hollow Body,” might suggest an industrial act with a knowing, though hardly tongue-in-cheek, approach to the genre: The throbbing drum machine and breaking-glass samples are dead ringers for vintage Wax Trax, and Frutos’ larynx-shredding snarl summons the perfect mixture of Trent Reznor and Peter Murphy. It’s a giddy spin on evil that’s fitting of his graying beard and wild-eyed mien.

But even as a first encounter with Crudo Pimento, the song’s Lynchian ambient bookends—soft strings, keening voices—indicate that there is more to this duo. Whizzing through 13 tracks in 29 minutes, Pantame takes in 1990s-inspired alternative rock, glitching electronic percussion, the dread empty spaces of post-punk, and an overdriven blast of live jazz improv that sounds as if it were recorded on a waterlogged Dictaphone in a blast-cratered nightclub. Frequently, the mournful vocal melodies of Andalusian flamenco take the reins, bending heavy-metal malice and hip-hop swagger to haunting contours forged in centuries of drought and melancholy.

The album flows in a single, meandering stream of music, a tenacious creek in a cracked riverbed. If the satisfying crunch of guitar rock is the unifying element, the really interesting stuff happens in the interstices, as pigfuck rave-ups collide with steel-guitar reveries, analog synth squiggles, and stuttering fantasias that sound like Oval going to town on a scratched-out Swans CD. The lyrics, mostly in Spanish, mix the sacred and the profane with a surrealist’s acid-tipped brush (“I promise to water your streets/With the blood of those who offended you/Don’t think that money/Will free you from death”). “D.E.L.A.S.,” a blissed-out funk-rock jam that resembles Red Hot Chili Peppers on MDMA, cribs its chorus from a poem by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Jump cuts and jarring movements are bedrock principles of these supersaturated collages.

That the pieces of Pantame don’t seem as though they should fit together naturally is part of the point. That they do, and so neatly, is a testament to the rapport between Crudo Pimento and Buccelli, who gigged with the band in Spain and subsequently invited them to record in Brooklyn. His array of synths and samplers helps achieve something new: a flickering hybrid that brokers an uneasy truce between dirt and silicon. But Buccelli’s MPC workouts—a technique that gives a song like “Ventana” its ungainly shudder—are just part of the equation. The alien power of Crudo Pimento is baked in, no plug-ins required.

“Pantame,” which features Rubinos, might be the album’s strangest cut, precisely because it sounds so normal: It’s straight-up roots reggae, unadulterated and unhybridized (save for that mid-song free-jazz freakout). “No hay tiempo para droga en New York City/No hay tiempo para droga en Barcelona,” Frutos croaks, a grizzled sage: There’s no time for drugs in New York City, there’s no time for drugs in Barcelona. Whatever it’s supposed to mean, I hear it as a lament for the pace of modern life, a rejection of global capitalism, a recognition that recreational drugs are first and foremost about having time to burn—a resource nobody seems to have enough of in big, expensive metropolises.

I visited Murcia once; the hash was strong and the evenings were aimless in a way that would be inconceivable in the world’s rat-race capitals. Pantame feels like alternative rock in its truest, most idealistic sense: rock music in search of an alternative, better way of living. That search, too, is fundamentally about time—time to pursue one’s craft, time to build one’s instruments, time to wander into the desert and get properly lost.

View the original article here



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