Mexican Institue of Sound

By day Camillo Lara works as the head EMI Mexico. By night, his alter-ego emerges as the ‘Mexican Institute of Sound’, a one- man project dynamo conveying the musical spirit of said country.

‘Mejico Maxico’ tries to be one big tortilla wrap merging Latin spice, cha-cha, and electronica. It sure is one messy mix, with no real meat behind it. What should be a carnival of a feast is really sloppy, half-cooked mash.

Purported to be the sound of the underground, the album is neither cutting edge nor original. Think ‘Nightmares on Wax’ spliced with ‘The avalanches’ cut with annoying bleeps and Spanish phrases to muster up some sort of authenticity, and bobs your uncle.

The idea that there should be some sort of Latin spirit entwined with the music is dampened by the child-like, computerised melodies, fused into the swill. The cut and paste of trumpet/guitar/piano samples are drowned out by the wishy-washy, new-age pomp.

What is most infuriating is that the album can’t decide whether it wants to be leg-shaking-floor-filler, or a kick-back-with-a-joint-chiller. Be sure, it lacks the tempo to set fire to any pumping dancefloor. As it spins, it seem to vanish into the background with it’s fluffy, synthetic rhythms.

Advocates of electronica might find a handful of the sun-drenched tracks worth a replay. After all, it’s not a serious, profound album. However, when you expect something from the Latin quarter, you expect a bit of bite!

Hardly any of the songs last as much as 3 minutes, which leaves little time for any development in sound. All that’s left are short snatches of minimalist synthy nonsense, crudely made over with something that half resembles the hustle and bustle of Mexican life.

Some of the songs themselves are familiar: Bonus track Lennin Y McCarthur is an instrumental breakbreak reworking of The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood, whereas Mirando A Las Muchachas is the old standard Music To Watch Girls By, chopped into snippets and trampled over by a insistently throbbing beat.

When it comes to it, there are thousands of bedroom amateurs producing music that is tenfold more exciting than Lara’s. I think the man should stick to his day job! Sorry buddy.