The pan pipes of Asociacion Juvenil Puno twine around a timber-shaking thwack on the opener, "Kotos," but no momentum builds. The pipes echo and wheeze like someone out of breath from hiking towards that Incan citadel, the track continually stopping and starting. The track never gets deep during its four minutes, a trend that continues through most of Mirrors.
When it does work, the results show just how heady a mix of electronic and tribal traditions can be. "Cusco Street Scene" recalls the most thrilling peaks of Cuba—a bit of pipa, triumphant horns and ambient street noise give the icy veneer of early dubstep a sweaty makeover. As the name "Markos Swagga" suggests, the tricky percussion and attendant shouts give the track a boisterous strut, one of the colorful highlights.
Too often, though, the sonic elements just don't gel. Most of the tracks pass by without catching the ear. The most evocative moment is the album's quietest, a lone female voice singing the folk song "Cunumicita" with little more than a guitar and finger snaps as accompaniment. It's hard to say what Mala adds to the song (aside from low-end), but its unadorned state is enough. Where Mala In Cuba boiled, Mirrors barely gets to a simmer.
Fri / 24 Jun 2016
01. Kotos feat. Asociacion Juvenil Puno
02. Dedication 365
03. Cusco Street Scene
04. They're Coming
06. Cunumicita (performed by Danitse)
07. Take Flight
08. The Calling
09. Inga Gani
11. Markos Swagga
12. Zapateo feat. Colectivo Palenke
13. Sound Of The River feat. Sylvia Falcón
14. 4 Elements