Press Clipping
Zemog El Gallo Bueno YoYouMeTu Trilogy Vol. 1 and 2

I had to reacquaint myself with Zemog El Gallo Bueno, what with a dozen years having passed since I first heard his/their eponymous debut disc. ZEGB is both multi-instrumentalist/singer/composer/producer Abraham Gomez-Delgado and the band he leads, but it's a bit of a mystery as to what parts of YoYouMeTu Trilogy Vol. 1 and 2 are solo efforts, the work of an ensemble or combinations of both.

Gomez-Delgado is reportedly the inventor and master of an instrument called an eje that enables him to be a one man Afro-Latin band. So as far as I'm concerned, the source of the horns, percussion, acoustic guitars, keyboards, vocals, effects and everything else heard on these two discs is too far after the fact.

The music is not quite salsa, Latin jazz, Latin pop, Latin funk or anything else easily nailed down. It's got components of all of those and some very deep roots also, such as when "Bomba Sin Plena" drops into a drums-and-chant breakdown before returning to its more electric starting point. If a label is absolutely necessary, think of it as avant-Latin or alt-Latin. Just know it's not so out there that it'll alienate lovers of crackling conga and timbale beats, blazing horns, articulate guitar riffs or nice thick grooves based on a wide variety of Latin styles, all present in abundance.

Occasional diversions into strangeness likewise kill no buzz, not even the nightmarish lyrics of "Plena Sawtooth" or the not-sure-if-it's-pro-or-con spoken mention of Prozac that shows up in there somewhere. The second CD has more vintage-sounding moments than the first, setting its tone with some moody cumbia fusion and building nicely from there. According to the backstory behind this double dip, Gomez-Delgado was in something of an over-medicated slump when he began work on it. So no surprise that the music sometimes feels intentionally dark and distant, sometimes a little crazed, but most often fun and danceable. It's all certainly creative, unique and compelling, and perhaps it'll inspire you to cut a rug with your demons before telling them to piss off. - Tom Orr