Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Diamante Eléctrico

Diamante Eléctrico
Time for another musical outing, pop pickers. You might think I’m being really lazy with the curatorial side of the musical selection on the blog by just going through the list of bands who played showcases in our Bogotá Music Market, and you’d be right as well. Thing is, all the bands who played were amazing, so I don’t really need to look any further for the time being.

Colombians have an expression which translates as “a promise is a debt”, and although in this case I didn’t actually promise anything to anyone, I do feel like I have a debt to pay. You see, one day, not so long ago, I happened to log in to Facebook seconds after the manager of Diamante Eléctrico had posted an online competition for a copy of their new album. I’d seen Diamante a year ago in the 2012 version of Circulart, the music industry conference in Medellin.  It was the first time I’d seen them, and their showcase blew my socks off. I’m not sure I’d seen them in the time since Circulart, but when the album popped up, I was in like Flynn with the correct answers, and much to my fanboy embarrassment, won a copy of the album. It wasn’t a promise, but it feels like a debt that I should repay in some fashion, so here I am, about to tell you how marvellous Diamante Eléctrico are.

I had a great literature teacher in university in Galway who lectured us on James Joyce. One of his comments on Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was that Joyce set himself a huge challenge by writing about an artist, in that he made it necessary to provide an example of the art of the artist within the text that he composed. I've been thinking about that comment a lot as I wonder whether Ivied Feet might cut it as a music blog, and I wonder if I need to go and study some postgrad course in music journalism in order to be able to describe in words what my ears delight in. And then part of me thinks, no, I don’t need to do that. All I need to do is tell you that it is great, and all you need to do is click the fecking play button on the Youtube embeds, or the Soundcloud playlists, and listen for yourselves. It’d probably be quicker, and at the end of the day, if I think it is great and you decide that it is great, you’ll still have to have listened to it to come to that agreement with me. So click the play button.  The music will always be beyond my ability to capture it in words, so let’s just take the short cut and you make your own mind up.

The idea that the only music that to come out of Colombia would be “latin music” is a misconception shared by even the most discerning of Belfast rockers. None less than Belfast’s answer to Mark Lanegan, Tb Chapman, recently wrote to me thus:

I'm probably being very shallow & closed minded but I just assumed you listened to "Latin" music now. And my prejudice makes me assume that all Latin music is salsa. I know. I know I'm a wanker. So when I see you encouraging people to check out some local bands yer into I don't ever hink they're "rock" or anything I would be interested in. I must admit that I DO have a problem with other languages in song. I like to be able to sing along, for a start. Forgive this rather rambling reply. I hink I was just shocked that yer still into a bit of rock. Once again reinforcing my status as a wanker.

Well I am into a bit of rock. And with Diamante you get more than a bit of rock. I sort of want them to be Colombia’s answer to the Queens, but they’re not there yet. They are probably closer to Cream, in a ballsy, riff-tastic, straight ahead blast of power-trio rock. I want them to have more elements, more chorus, more psychedelia, more layers. The album cover recalls sixties psychedelia, and the live show features more of the same style in projections. The comparison with Cream isn’t too far-fetched, as the drummer is a monster as well, although watching him trying to force aguardiente down the throat of another bass-player at a recent gig made me think that he has to be more sociable than Ginger Baker. They are also not shy about referencing their rock heroes... listen for the Zeppelin nod in the middle and as the, ahem, coda, of "Diamante Eléctrico". As for the name, I think you can probably manage to translate it without my help, and identify the echoes of Pink Floyd and the Beatles in there as well. Diamante Eléctrico made a big hit in the BOmm, they even garnered an approving review from the American music industry’s very own Victor Meldrew, Bob Lefsetz, and their video for "Matar a un Hombre Muerto" (Killing a Dead Man) has won local prizes. But as my friend Paul says, people who speak English want to sing along in English, so I wonder how things will pan out for these guys in the Anglo world. Well, tell me what you think. Go on, click the play button, and give it a listen. I think they rock.

(Top photo is by Julian Tellez and taken from the BOmm Flickr set.)

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