M.A.K.U. Soundsystem Mezcla on LP
The immigrant experience is scary and it's exciting. Everything is new, everything is possible. There's a city, a country, an entire culture to discover. It's an opportunity to create, to find a voice that speaks loud and proud, to connect past and future. A chance to make history. That's what the eight-piece M.A.K.U. Soundsystem does on their fourth album, Mezcla ("Mix"). They give us America now, in the raw, through the eyes and ears of Colombians who've arrived and made their homes in New York City. It is, in every way, a mix, an invitation to think and to dance.
Mezcla is a relentlessly honest record. The music hits the feet and the hips, powerful and overwhelming, while the lyrics reflect the lives the band members live. There's the giddy flirtation of a summer Saturday night on "Haitiana" and the thought that comes from looking around somewhere so different and asking "What Do You Wish For." But it also embraces darker political questions that don't have easy answers. The opening track, "Agua," for instance, wonders why some people own the seeds that should be for everyone – who are those who have and who are the dispossessed? And "De Barrio," the warm, inviting waltz that closes the disc, examines the journey so many coming from Latin America to the US undertake.
Afropop Worldwide praised the "frantic terrain" the band explores. National Public Radio raved about the "driving and gritty energy...this raw-edged, punk-tinged band explodes with the propulsive force of traditional rhythms and urban restlessness." It's a statement, an embrace. Think and dance. A way forward delivered with the urgency that's become a hallmark of M.A.K.U. Soundsystem. Mezcla captures the live sound of the band, that thrilling rawness where the rough edges become a vital part of the whole, plenty of freedom but with the tightness honed by night after night of gigs. And that's exactly how Mezcla came together. "We try to keep it human," Ospina says. "To give people something they can relate to." To think and dance.