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Music Review

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Re-Foc

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Ruby Works - 2002 - 40 minutes

The reinvention of hackneyed sounds is one of the most interesting trends in music at the moment. Acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela take in jazz, drum'n'bass and heavy metal in their musical update of the mariachi sound of their native Mexico.

Since arriving in Dublin the duo built their reputation on hypnotically intense live performances, where their guitar styles seamlessly flowed from avant-garde percussive to virtuoso string-picking. The gigs were also noted for their choice of cover versions - they must be the only act whose set segues from Metallica to Dave Brubeck.

Having released two lo-fi CDs already, 'Re-Foc' sees the pair team up with various talented Irish musicians, deepening and broadening their sound in the process.

The combination of acoustic guitars and Zoe Conway's violin can be a little cloying at times, veering too close to restaurant muzak on 'Diem' and 'New One'; but other tracks such as 'Sangre y Ritmo' and 'Paris' combine emotional depth with supreme technical ability. Their interpretation of the Brubeck standard 'Take Five' is a shining example of what a cover version should be - taking the loungy original in amazing, intense new directions.

The highlights of 'Re-Foc' are stunning and moving, but unfortunately it occasionally dips towards the bland. Well worth getting.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Diem - New One - Foc - Georges St/the Tartar Frigate - 30 de Marzo - Paris - Take 5 - Sangre y Ritmo

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