Rodrigo y Gabriela and C.U.B.A. - Area 52 (ATO Records) ****1/2
Rodrigo y Gabriela can be credited for reviving Spanish acoustic guitar. They have an absolute fire in their fingers, and the sounds they produce are absolutely amazing. The two unfulfilled metal heads found a new career by simply doing what they know how to do. Or was it the career that unexpectedly found them? This discussion could go on forever.
"Area 52" united the duo with a Cuban orchestra, and the results are spectacular! If you've heard these songs before, you've never heard them this way. There is an absolute charm to what the band and the producer wanted to accomplish. This is Rodrigo Y Gabriela experimenting, and most likely fulfilling a personal ambition. And it's great for a listener to celebrate with them!
The album includes some very special guests. Namely: Anoushka Shankar, Carles Benavent, Le Trio Joubran, Samuel Formell Alfonso, and drummer John Tempesta. Their contributions are strong, and very distinctive, often pushing the album in new unexplored directions.
"Area 52" is an incredibly musical album, and will no doubt attract many musicians and fans alike. Rodrigo y Gabriela have taken their music and dressed it in very unique sounds. Not only is "Area 52" a cutting edge record, but also a great musical exploration. Thumbs up!