Friday, August 12, 2011

Ursula 1000 - Mondo Beyondo


01. Mondo Beyondo
02. Hey You! (feat. Fred Schneider of The B-52's)
03. Disko-Tech (feat. Ms. G)
04. Repetez Le Repertoire (feat. Isabella Antena)
05. The Elegant Oracle
06. Tropicadelica (with Natalia Clavier of Thievery Corporation)
07. Stinger
08. Baby laser Love (feat. Ms. G)
09. (You Can't Control) The Spectrum Soul
10. The Fly
11. Don't Get Your Panties in a Bunch
12. Red Hot mama (feat. Big Mike Geier)
13. Graveyard Stomp

Ursula 1000 is the stage name of DJ Alex Gimeno -- a man who reportedly owns over 20,000 records. The name is a reference to Ursula Andress -- the original Bond girl, appropriately enough it turns out, because many of the tracks on his new album, Mondo Beyondo, sound like they would be at home in a Bond film. They're coated in the cheeky style and glitz that seemed to flow out of Europe in the 1960s. You'll recognize the feisty organ shimmer-stabs, the buzzsaw guitar solos, the Ennio Morricone weirdness, and the lighthearted semi-sensical vocals from a million different films about kids freaking out in Technicolor. There's something pagan and wild about the whole thing.

Mondo Beyondo is a good-time party record, plain and simple. The song titles alone should tip you off: “Disko-Tech,” “Tropicadelica,” “Baby Laser Love,” and “Red Hot Mama.” But it's a party record with roots that go deeper into the past than most of us remember. It couldn't have been made by anyone who didn't have an extensive knowledge of music history, if only from listening to so much music. The tracks may have the tone of a fun mix-tape tossed off for a lark one sweltering afternoon when it was cooler in the studio than outdoors, but a closer listen reveals that they are actually well-crafted little trash-pop symphonies, like sculptures of dryads made from wire, chewing gum, and pieces of broken disco balls.

Another hint that this endeavor is more about dancing than artistic pretension is Fred Schneider's guest spot on one of the most fun tracks, “Hey You!” Anyone familiar with The B-52s knows that Schneider isn't a man to take himself seriously. In one verse, he shouts, “Life's too short to hide inside! / You just gotta enjoy the ride!” punctuated by rhythmic beeps from car horns. In the next, it's “Day-glo pickup, cherry-red details / Check the console, waitin' for emails!” It's hard not to smile at the gonzo glee with which he delivers these ridiculous lines. At the same time, the picture he paints of heat lightning over the city and “flaming creatures out for a stroll” is surprisingly complete. The song is a miniature model of the album itself: precision and care put towards having a blast.

“Disko-Tech” is a synthetic jam that sounds like funky robots playing Apple II keyboards in a hip-shakin' boogie. Telephones ring rhythmically, and clips from other songs jump in and out of earshot. This is followed by “Tropicadelica,” a swampy paradise of Bossa Nova delight. Its swinging beats twine around Natalia Clavier's syrupy vocals and sink into a vine-choked miasma like a lazy ruin drowning in quicksand. One imagines lost souls drifting and swaying across a deserted island; when they reach the ocean, they retreat back through the heart of the jungle, only to find that endless stretch of water waiting for them on the other side, whispering with echoes.

“Stinger” is a tight little aria by an operatic insect who was probably raised by James Brown, or who at least met James Brown when he was a pupa. It segues into “Baby Laser Love,” a rambling hip-hop excursion (featuring Ms. G) that repeats the “Don't stop, get it, get it” refrain that's still stuck in the heads of anyone who has heard Gorillaz's “Feel Good, Inc.”

Other standout moments include the awesomely creepy vibe of “(You Can't Control) The Spectrum Soul” and “The Fly,” as well as the goofy novelty-record camp of “Graveyard Stomp.” The latter brings to mind all those fantastic zombie-punk bands that dress like ghouls and give you a real show for your money.

If you're having a bad day, or a bad early part of the 21st Century, for that matter, this album is just the thing to cheer you up. If it doesn't cheer you up, then it's probably going to take more than music. It might take both music and dancing. You should probably get all your friends together, have a backyard barbeque, and put this record on just loud enough that people can still hear each other talk. That's just a courtesy, though, because after about fifteen seconds of the first track, they'll be speaking with their hips instead of their lips...www.buzzinemusic.com

1 comment:

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    thanks to vincent72

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