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Rodrigo Y Gabriela - Live in Japan

2008-12-29 16:14
Live in Japan
Instrumental guitar aficionados will no doubt hear the spectre of say, Paco de Lucia, Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin grinning on opening flamenco salvo "OK Tokyo". Make no mistake, the ghosts of these guitar gods are here. But so are a playlist of far more sexier musical demons.

Sure, the idea of distilling Metallica's "Orion" into an arena rock clapathon might sound like sacrilege to some. But it isn't, thanks to a hint of Morricone's spaghetti western strings simmering somewhere in the mix. While the pair's perambulatory meditation on Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" is a bit of a snooze jazz noodle, their Latino-post rock rewiring of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" is a definite spine tingler.

Unfortunately the same can't really be said for the couple's solo jams, especially when Rodrigo coaxes the crowd into decoding the bits of Hendrix and The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" spliced into his strums. While you can hear the fans getting excited, the only problem is that like 99.9% of instrumental acoustic guitar music, it just isn't that sexy - unless you're actually watching it live. Good move then to toss in a bonus DVD which instantly brings to life the erotica of Rodrigo's pulse quickening folk rock finger picks and Gabriela's hypnotically percussive back beats on the talking-tongued "Juan Loco" and the bloody-minded "Diablo Rojo".

Add El Mariachi-on-LSD mash-ups like "Tamacun" and "Ixtapa", and the Zen trance folk of "Satori" to your next After Dinner Party iPod playlist, and you just might have the perfect key-swapping soundtrack that you've been looking for.
Expatriate Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo and Gabriela give the art of the virtuoso instrumental an overhaul on this ambitiously alternative set of flamenco-flecked jazz jams and feverish folk rock fret workouts.

What to read next: Kalahari


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