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Delving into my first listen of Spanish artist Hector Guerra’s ode to love and life, Amor, I immediately felt uplifted by the construction of its first track, “Fallen Angels.” The drum and bass keep a heavy beat while the tropical and reggae elements fathom a mindset where reminiscence is key but happiness is a goal. This album keeps a constant back and forth idea of memory and love, along with looking at the present and where one’s path has led them.
On some tracks the rhythm develops as a tropical or Spanish flamenco style, where as others are tinged with heavy hip-hop/rap elements. His lyrics can be strong and striking, while in other songs his voice is more melodically based and slowed down.
Influenced by traditional Latin American music, along with urban hip-hop and reggaeton, the songs are tinged with the common element of Electronic Dance Music (“EDM”). Dubstep, a branch of electronic music, is identifiable by its reverberating “wobble bass” that is evident in most of the songs. This genre has come to power in most club scenes around the world in the last 4 years. It is even blended into popular music today, with the likes of Kanye West, Katy Perry and Rihanna and among many adopters of the dizzing style of bass music. It’s interesting to note how the arrangements in Guerra’s album adopt this style of electronic music amongst the backdrops of cumbia ballads (like the track “El Tiempo no Mira Pa ‘Tras”) or in slow reggae-based tempos. (as in the track “Fallen Angels”). One of the standout tracks is called “What Up?” and features a compelling mix of trumpets, splashy hi hat drums and politically inclined lyrics. All in all this is a worthy and enduring record, combining the best forms of international music into a fusion that is meant to transfix and allude to love and happiness, yet touching on the feelings that come before, during and after those emotions.
The Spanish-Bolivian Hector Guerra is a MC/Producer who initially started in 2003 working under the helm of a DJ that previously worked with the American Hip-Hop collective Public Enemy. Over the years his own collective of musicians and collaborators, the Pachamama Crew, has been steadily increasing its fan base and accolades. This album is one of the first official releases through Warner Brothers records. He will be performing at San Francisco’s Make Out Room venue on February 9th.
Genre: Latin Urban/Hip-Hop
Available on iTunes