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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Radio Zumbido

By Phil Freeman
Published October 5, 2007

Pequeño Transistor De Feria

Radio Zumbido is the performing alias of a programmer and multi-instrumentalist from Guatemala via Barcelona, Berlin and Los Angeles named Juanka. He’s just released his second album, Pequeño Transistor de Feria, on the indie label Quatermass, following a 2003 debut, Los Ultimos Días del AM, on Palm Pictures. The new disc is substantially more stripped-down and organic than its predecessor, which was almost trip-hop with a psychedelic Latin pop edge. Most tracks on Pequeño sound almost like demos or sketches, and some are quite entertaining, particularly the brief tape-loop-and-guitar piece “Everybody Wants To Be Manu Chao These Days.” Samples of vintage Latin music recordings and Spanish radio and TV dialogue appear, as do brief guest contributions of African and Latin percussion. Each individual track is part of a larger whole that documents the sound of displacement, of living in multiple cities whether as an immigrant or an itinerant musician in the laptop era. It’s a fascinating collage.