Review Summary: Mexico is an exciting collaboration record, and some of the best work done by either artist.
In some cases, the word 'collaboration' can be something of a misnomer. The word suggests two or more artists coming together to make something that brings different elements of those artists together to create something they couldn't make on their own. Often, however, one artist will dominate the entire work, leaving the other(s) to back him or her up. Alternatively, this can happen on a track-to-track level. There have, of course, been some very good collaboration albums in recent years (Sunn O)))
, or the In the Fishtank
releases by Low
and Dirty Three
, or by Isis
). Erik Truffaz
is an exciting collaboration record, and some of the best work done by either artist, because it utilises both approaches to collaboration and therefore creates an interesting, unique and varied work.
Truffaz, an improvisational jazz trumpeter and Murcof, a glitchy, classically influenced ambient laptop artist are an interesting pairing to begin with. Rather than structuring each piece in a completely democratic format, Truffaz and Murcof seem to take a jazz-like approach; playing off each other and allowing each other to dominate at the appropriate places. Opener "Al Mediodia" bears the most resemblance to traditional jazz and is based on a simple, syncopated percussion track which Murcof augments with repetitive, glitchy samples here and there. Truffaz dominates the track. his improvisation slinking around and above the rest of the instrumentation. "Good News From the Desert" is dark piece in which Truffaz takes a backseat, playing simple lines. Truffaz allows Murcof to build up a collage of samples and glitchy, suggestive percussion before he gets a little more involved with wah-effected lines that border on noise and then, finally, closes the track out with a soft, breathy melody. "Avant L'Aube" is, however, the real highlight here and the most egalitarian, right down to the mixing. The first half of the piece is dark until the climactic modulation in the middle turns it around and it gradually fades out with subtle chord changes and soft, emotive trumpet improvisation.
At 27 minutes minutes long, Mexico
is a surprisingly condensed and varied listen. Perhaps the only complaint to be made about it is that it feels like it could have been just as exciting at twice its length.