Thursday, March 08, 2007

Genre Busters

My favorite musicians are those with voracious ears, who take in everything they hear and translate back into their own craft and art.

John Lennon, of course, was the master - redefining everything from Indian raga to Texas rockabilly. Right behind him, imho, is David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame, who continues to explore and assimilate great music wherever he finds it, anywhere on earth.

My latest favorites is Calexico, a bunch of art school music geeks from Tucson. Superb musicians, you can hear the sounds of the border in their music, with touches of cumbia, rumba, samba, Ennio Morricone, folk, blues and even a bit of rock and roll - just such a fascinating amalgam of sounds. Now, not everything works, and it is usually quite lo-fi, as they pride themselves on recording with real instruments in real environments, but some of their stuff just shimmers in way that you can hear how the whole of their approach is greater than the sum of their parts.

Here's a good sample of their work, "Crystal Frontier:"

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