wed 29/05/2024

Album: Rodrigo y Gabriela - In Between Thoughts… A New World | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Rodrigo y Gabriela - In Between Thoughts… A New World

Album: Rodrigo y Gabriela - In Between Thoughts… A New World

Sheer pluck! Twelve strings, two guitars and an exhilarating sound

Sonic adventures with guitar virtuosi

Ahead of two spring dates in the UK, Rodrigo y Gabriela release their seventh studio album, In Between Thoughts… A New World, a beguiling set of guitar-based music that has echoes through time and hints of rumba-flamenco and occasionally the heavy metal that brought the two musicians together in their native Mexico City back in the 1990s.

Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero grew up listening to jazz, rock, and flamenco but it was Metallica which brought them together at La Casa de Cultura as teenagers. They were soon spending summers playing as Tierra Acida for audiences vacationing in Ixtapa. Their goal was “a different kind of music, something we could make as our own" – a goal which took them to Dublin, where they busked, became friends with Damien Rice, and made a live album. Their debut studio outing beat Arctic Monkeys to Ireland’s top spot.

You may not know their name, but you have likely heard their music on the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean or Puss in Boots, or perhaps caught them at Glastonbury, or the Grammys (Mettavolution won Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2020). They’ve done all the big TV shows and played at the Obama White House.

Both play acoustic guitars, with Gabriela providing energetic rhythm and Rodrigo lead – “Broken Rage” gives as good a sense as anything as to what they’re about. There are no vocals, just guitar-based music of undulating textures and timbres. Their inspiration is nondualism, defined as "the interconnectedness of everything which is dependent upon the nondual One, Transcendent Reality,” and “the singular wholeness of existence that suggests that the personal self is an illusion." There’s certainly a transcendent feeling to the music, which is joyous, thrilling, infectious.

Recorded in Ixtapa and incorporating elements of electronica and orchestral music, In Between Thoughts… A New World is by turns catchy, meditative, and energetic, multifarious influences (Hendrix and Santana among them) synthesised and blended by two masterful guitarists who show us just how much can be achieved on two cutaway acoustics, effects pedals close by. It’s music that really needs to be experienced live or, failing that, blasting out of some big speakers on a sun-soaked terrace, adult beverages at hand.

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