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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

PANÓPTICA

By Robert Kaye
Published June 27, 2006

Ahora Yo A Ti... Una Coleccion de Remixes pro Panoptica
Nacional

Roberto Mendoza, a.k.a., Panóptica, is no stranger to World Beat electronica. A founding member of the Nortec Collective, he has created a sonic playground that includes remixes of that crew’s tracks as well as indie favorites by Calexico, Her Space Holiday, tre/molo and others. With a handshake and nod toward European techno along with Nortena, Banda and other indigenous Mexican sounds, Panóptica’s “solo album” is a creative hybrid of south-of-the-border and across-the-Atlantic influences. Panóptica is adept at creating great-sounding grooves; a particular case in point is the rhythm/percussion tracks on the remake of his own piece, “Ojos Bonitos.” However, several of the album’s tracks, such as the remix of Almada’s “Clorofila,” “Linga” and “Lydia,” fall victim to over-redundant phraseology, a symptom not uncommon among many electronic projects, regardless of their continent of origin. Overall, there’s some great ambient groove material here. Mendoza is a studio wizard at creating recombinant soundtracks filled with playful textures and colors. As far as his actual songwriting craftsmanship is concerned, that judgment will be, to employ Dewey Redman’s phrase, in the ear of the behearer.