Album Reviews

Mexican Institute of Sound – Pinata

(Cooking Vinyl) UK release date: 6 August 2007

Though the tradition had yet to gain a foothold here a Pinata is a brightly-coloured paper container filled with sweets and goodies. It’s generally suspended from a rope and is systematically destroyed by blindfolded stick-wielding children who hope to get their greedy mitts on the treats inside. When I was a lad we had to make do with a children’s entertainer and be happy.

Bearing all this in mind there’s never been a more appropriate title for an album. The Mexican Institute of Sound has provided us with more break beats and enjoyable samples than you can shake a stick at. And not an annoying hyperactive child in sight.

Despite what you may think, the Mexican Institute of Sound is a one man organisation called Camilo Lara. Written and recorded at his home studio in Mexico City, Pinata explores the many musical influences on Mexican culture.

It’s an enjoyable crossover album crammed with funk, Cuban beats, hop-hop, big beat and reggae influences. Calling him a Mexican Fatboy Slim barely scratches the surface. This is a cosmopolitan cut and paste effort with a great collage of sounds. The result is an album which is many things, but never boring.

Escribeme Pronto leaps out of the starting gates with an infectious brace of samples, sounding like the Buena Vista Social Club meets DJ Yoda. In fact, it’s clear that every sample on this LP has been lovingly chosen. There are plenty of other tracks that burrow into your head to plant a seed that’s difficult to shake off.

It’s not without its faults though: This style of music is beginning to feel a little dated, and like the Pinata itself you can begin to tire off all the little sweets inside. But Lara should be applauded for his efforts to bring various different styles of world music to the masses. Pi’ata proves one thing – the Mexican Institute of Sound are much more than the Ministry of Silly Beats.

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Mexican Institute of Sound – Pinata