LOS DE ABAJO Cybertropic Chilango Power (Luaka Bop) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Further proof alongside fusion upsetters like Ozomatli and Manu Chao that no one understands culture clash in the 21st century quite like Latin America. The self-styled "tropipunk" of Los de Abajo clatters and hums like a Saturday night in Mexico City's Zcalo plaza. There are a dozen different rhythms and musical styles on Cybertropic Chilango Power, everything from blaring salsa and stately jarocho to rubbery reggae and Mexican street performers, often colliding within the same track. Lurching from sound to sound isn't new. What is stunning here is how genuine and casual Los de Abajo are about their fusion. It's impossible to place the group from song to song, and despite the occasional lapse into ska, there are none of the awkward moments that usually plague collisions between old and new. Magic stuff.