Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Hecho a mondo

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2000 at 12:00 AM

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Like French dance floor kitsch maestros Air — the only group to which a comparison seems justified — Mexico City’s Titan maintains a supreme dual focus on both the fun and the funk. While other groove merchants trade on sloppy sonic references to the fat-bottom sound of the ’70s, Titan manages to conjure that certain "Starsky and Hutch" je ne sais quoi without a trace of self-awareness. Like the group’s far-out Mexican contemporaries in Café Tacuba, Titan builds its eclectic sound upon a broad, rock-steady base of guitar, horns, samples, loops and whacked-out vocals. But while Tacuba often seems focused on formal songwriting experimentation for its own sake, Titan places the same rock, lounge, electro, disco, surf, funk and cheese elements under its microscope and, well, if it doesn’t make you shake your dinero-maker, it’s thrown in the trash heap.

Emilio Acevedo, Jay De La Cueva and Julian Lede pillage retro sounds and craft their own with equally giddy abandon. These ostensibly ephemeral little glimpses of the future of the booty actually manage to crawl their way into your craw enough to find you singing along with ’em on the commute home. That’s a testament to the deceptive simplicity and the tractor beam of Titan’s flawless feel for rhythm.

With titles such as "C’mon Feel the Noise" (in which they actually sample the "Starsky and Hutch" theme), "1000 Ninjas" and "La Frequencia del Amor," it’s no secret that the lads aren’t harboring any artful pretensions. Rather, they’re making art from sources utterly without pretense. The fat, wiggly synthetic musical day-trips were recorded with the aid of a pedigreed cadre of producers including Craig Borrell and Ross Harris (aka Sukia) and Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and Spearhead main man Michael Franti. The lucky 12 readers who actually still own records by these artists can appreciate what these folks bring to the turntable. When Titan lays the grooves on sunny side very much up, you just know it’s got sol. Get squiggly wit’ it!

Chris Handyside writes about music for the Metro Times. E-Mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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