9 Dead Alive
Rodrigo and Gabriela are back to just using two acoustic guitars. They have sought to extend their palette by compositional ideas, instead, the nine pieces being homages to assorted pioneers, geniuses and philanthropists.
The Soundmaker is for Antonio de Torres Jurado, the nineteenth-century Spaniard who reinvented the guitar’s construction, thereby doing the world a huge favour, including two Mexicans who, over a century later, have so radically exploited the instrument’s dynamic potential. The vigorous Misty Moses is for Harriet Tubman, the African American slave who escaped and helped countless others to do so, and the gently rippling <Megalopolis> is for the Noble laureate poet Gabriela Mistral.
If an undeniable warmth of heart infuses these tributes, Rodrigo and Gabriela have expanded their repertoire more than their options (Megalopolis and a couple of others apart). Gabriela’s intensely percussive rhythms remain a triumph, but also a limiting factor, and metal-derived riffing remains a default option amid the considerable beauty of many of Rodrigo’s fleet lines. A must for fans, however, especially with its accompanying DVD.