Mexican Institute of Sound, "Politico" (Nacional Records)
"Mexico, Mexico, ra ra ra." The cheer is familiar to Mexican sports fans as well as to film buffs who'll know it as the ironic title of a 1970s cult movie that criticized Mexico as a nation decaying from within. On "Politico," the darkly pointed new album by electronic artist Camilo Lara (aka the Mexican Institute of Sound), the cheer is a lopsided refrain anchoring the breakout single "Mexico," which sadly declares that the stench of rot remains.
Layered over a drunken horn line, Lara chants "Todos somos victimas de un estado confiscado/ Con un gobierno involucrado en las ganacias del narco/ Es una nacion podrida con la poblacion herida," meaning, "We're all victims of a confiscated state/ With a government involved in narco profits/ It's a nation at rot, with the population wounded."
On "Politico," Lara departs from his earlier MIS albums that were overtly joyous in celebrating Mexico's rich musical culture. Lara, who is president of EMI Mexico, uses his extensive knowledge of Latin music to smash up diverse sounds: tuba-driven banda rhythms; 1960s pop harmonics; vocal samplings; folk instruments. Mexicans take pride in an ability to pull together odds and ends, whatever is on hand to form creations that are unique, unexpected and delicious in an entirely new way. That "a la Mexicana" style is Lara's charm, even as he mourns the corruption tearing apart his homeland.
Check this out: Put on some headphones and admire the sonic richness of "Es-toy," where Lara builds a mono cumbia rhythm into a stereophonic count-off and then a rich banda-driven beat that is hypnotically danceable.