Review: Rodrigo y Gabriela – Area 52Tweet
Review: Ros Madigan
Rodrigo y Gabriela are back once more with their 5th studio album to date. Area 52 is an altogether different venture than before for the dynamic virtuoso duo. Area 52 sees Mr.Sanchez and Ms.Quintero team up with a 13-piece Cuban orchestra called C.U.B.A. For anyone that has followed the pair over the years or has seen them live will understand that they usually perform alone, just the two of them. Their live performances have been acclaimed for their sheer excitement and intensity. This having just two members, imagine what the help of 13 more exceptional musicians could sound like. This is what Area 52 aims to show us.
In 2011, Rodrigo y Gabriela entered the studio with Hans Zimmer to record sessions for his ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ film. This was a new venture for the duo and Area 52 is another leap into the world of the unknown for R y G.
This 9-track album consists of 9 songs that have been released on previous albums. The aim was to add a new depth to each song, and in certain cases, flip the song on its head with the 13-piece orchestra. The result is an electrifying, full-bodied attack of flamenco infused musical output.
Previous album favorites such as ‘Diablo Roja’ get a thorough going over with the inclusion of a massive horn and drum section. This track conveys the hypnotic quality that entrances so effortlessly during their live shows. At just over 5 minutes this track takes you on countless ups and downs, rises and falls that almost leave you out of breath from just listening. An experience that unfortunately is not replicated throughout the album. Songs such as ‘Logos’ fail to impress as the word boring springs to mind, a word that would never arise on the original recording of this song. There is obvious Asian and African influences thrown in here too, lovers of worldly music will be in their element, while old R y G fans will revert back to the originals.
The standout track comes from ‘Tamacun’ which manages to add something extra to the original release. I believe this album is a success as it’s a new sound and interesting road to explore. As a musical album, it’s exciting, frantic and flawless. I can’t wait to catch the first date of their tour, hitting Dublin’s Olympia on the 19th February. If this album isn’t your thing, R y G have assured fans that the two act performances will be coming back sooner rather than later but for now, lets enjoy this superb effort.