top 10 albums of 2013 por Gerardo Alejos

5.- Carlos MarksDislalia [Intolerancia]
Carlos Marks originally started as a duo between violinist Carlos Alegre and New Zealand-born guitar/baritone horn/accordion player Misha Marks. They specialized in busking in streets, buses, subway cars and other public spaces with a repertory that combined Mexican folk music with the up-tempo melodic lines and frenzied accents of Balkan music. Eventually, Carlos Marks became a quartet and added additional influences, extended techniques from contemporary music as well as harmolodic-sounding improvisation. To think of a mixture between James Blood Ulmer’s Odyssey trio (with violinist Charles Burnham) with the most up-tempo pieces from Goran Bregović or Duško Gojković would be tempting. But, it would barely scratch the surface of the carlosmarksist sound, which combines other crucial influences like the danceable melancholy of son huasteco from Veracruz and the string chutzpah of North African/Hispanic Peninsula virtuosos like Manitas de Plata or Khalifa Ould Eide. The ensemble is rounded out by double-bass player Axel Tamayo (recently replaced with Arturo Báez, who will surely add folk influences from his native state of Michoacán) and percussionist Jacobo Guerrero. The CD includes guests like the formidable New Zealand-born bass clarinetist Blair Latham (who, along with Marks and drummer Darío Bernal, form the free jazz trio Rolling Eye), as well as Alexander Bruck in stroh violin and Alex Daniels in accordion. Some of the highlights are Alegre’s composition “Melos Tirana” and Marks’s “Borrachioca” (with great bass clarinet work from Latham). There is also a glorious arrangement of “La petenera”, where Marks’s guitar meets Alegre’s violin in a gut-wrenching virtuosic duel, sounding close at first to pointillist European improvisation and finally reaching a string climax worthy of the Mexican guitar tradition or even flamenco. An essential document of México’s 2013 sound world.

Gerardo Alejos
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