Rodrigo y Gabriela : 11:11

ryg_eleveneleven.jpgKnown for their incendiary acoustical renditions, Rodrigo y Gabriela have established themselves as a talent since the release of their self-titled debut in 2006. They emerged as a stripped down acoustic duo promoting self-written pieces allowing Rodrigo to explore his talent for delivering precise, rapidly played notes; Gabriela holds down melodic tempos and delivers well-placed percussion sequences. Relying heavily on Latin rhythms as the baseline to their sound, the simplicity of their approach allowed them to introduce their audience to a diversity of musical genres they incorporate, ranging from rock and metal to classical and flamenco. 

Three years since their debut, Rod y Gab’s highly-anticipated follow-up will not disappoint fans.  Entitled 11:11, the album works off of the same basic formula as their first; fast-paced, Latin-infused rhythms draw from a variety of music genres as source inspiration. The compositions presented on this latest, self-produced release represent original work and arrangements, highlighting their skill for both creation and production. A noticeable addition on this album is a stronger sense of structure and depth to the arrangements. As a result, some of the free-form playing heard on the first album has been replaced with lengthier, well-rehearsed pieces. Though the acoustic duo is maintained as the focal point of the music, the incorporation of other musicians and instruments  add new facets to the music and create possibilities for new creative direction. 

This album projects a spiritual and prophetic tone not as evident in their previous release. Even the album title, 11:11, signifies a wake-up call and period of reflection. This angle offers an insightful introspective into tracks such as, “Hanuman”, “Triveni”, “Savitri”, “Hora Zero” and the title track, all of which draw upon various religious ideals ranging from Hinduism to numerology. A standout track, “Hanuman”, opens the album with an intense sound that quickly builds to climax, immediately setting a blistering pace for the remainder of the album.  “Santo Domingo,” one of my favorite cuts, mixes in rapid fashion, an updated Spanish tango rhythm with rough power chords emphasizing transitions. Another interesting track that blends a variety of sounds is “Atman.”  Meaning “soul” or “one’s true self” in the Hindu faith, “Atman” was written in celebration of fellow rocker “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott (Pantera) and contains an inspirational solo by Alex Skolnick of Testament. The album closes with the title track, offering a slow, quiet close to an otherwise high-energy album.

11:11 is a strong album that will further expand the fan base of Rodrigo y Gabriela. The talented duo that has successfully fused a variety of musical genres to create their own unique niche. Though talented at their instruments and their ability to craft complex pieces, themusic has a tendency to blend, perhaps a compliment and critique. The fluidity in an album offers anticipation and continuity; however, having been a fan of their first release it can also offer redundancy. In subsequent releases, Rod y Gab will hopefully begin to experiment more with new musical techniques and styles. Until now, repetitiveness of a sort has helped them establish their sound, but if left unchanged, it can also lead to a stale product.

11:11 is out now on ATO Records.