Following on from three highly regarded studio albums, Mexico’s Cabezas De Cera released their first full length live album in 2007.Titled “Hecho En Mexico”, the album is literally made in Mexico, as the recordings are all from concerts performed in their home country.Expanding on the styles and sounds explored on their previous studio efforts, this release is mostly an evolution of style from their 2004 double album, while adding in a bit more dynamics and atmosphere from that release.
Listening to CdC live, it continues to amaze that this is essentially three people live on stage recreating this music.While they have a fourth member who helps with treatments and sonic architecture off stage, the music is all played by three people.Their diversity of tone and sonority is impressive, and often it sounds like 5 or six musicians performing these complex tracks.In fact, at times it’s hard to accept that this is a live album; the audience is quiet and respectful, and one might be tempted to assume that this has all been done via studio trickery and overdubs.While it’s possible that some studio sweetening has been performed on these pieces, such has been done with amazing skill if such is the case.
Cabezas De Cera is a band without a weak album in their discography, and Hecho En Mexico meets the high expectations of their studio albums.It’s a more then worthy addition to their C.V., and is an important document of a band still evolving and maturing.
Track by Track Review
Tiroxina Rex This composition adds a bit of island/Caribbean flavour to the mix, with electronic percussion evoking steel drums.Over this, Marucio’s Stick playing brings to mind both Robert Fripp and Trey Gunn, with a thickly overdriven sound reminiscent of Fripp’s soloing, or Gunn’s mimicry of the same.The composition shifts tones regularly, never remaining static.
Al Mictlan Stick work opens up the fourth track on this album, with sax work following not long behind.Percussion sounds huge and hollow, almost tribal at times, while the piece itself is fairly slow and restrained.Even here, the song shifts through several moods, with brief beach like interludes leading into heavier fusion inspired territories.
Rompecabezas It’s hard to tell where this track is leading right from the start, as waves of synth like sound open “Rompecabezas.”The diffuse opening does not remain long, as the band kicks in with some wild sax and stick playing.Moments even remind of double trio-era King Crimson…all the more impressive as Cabezas De Cera is a trio (well, a quartet if you include their sonic architect, who treats their music from an offstage location).
Parkour Cabezas De Cera is a band of shifting moods and tones, and this is evidenced by the much more industrial, processed sound that leads in “Parkour,” the penultimate composition on Hecho En Mexico.The electronic opening is quickly replaced by some wild sax skronking and heavy band interplay, with alternating sections taking the listener back to those electronic soundscapes.Heavy, electronic, ambient, diverse…in many ways “Parkour” may be almost everything this band is contained in one singular track.