Write Here, Write Now: 12.14 – Diablo

The Grid – Diablo “Ven a nuestra salvacion En mi desierto de libertad

In the mid 90s, there was a glorious sweet spot of genres mixing – a little bit of electronica, of world music, of folk, of indie sensibility and punk attitude and as important as any of those, trance. Musical alchemists, such as the Orb, Leftfield, Fluke, Jah Wobble and The Grid created music that disregarded strictures of form and left my head dizzy as I just wanted to dance.

The Grid had made an impressive debut album, Electric Head,  that was absorbing and enjoyable on its own terms. But where they went from there was a fantastic exploration and pushing back of limits to make music that fizzed and glowed and forced me onto the dancefloor through sheer repetitive beats with layer upon layer of sound and sample built up on top.

Their most well-known song, Swamp Thing, did this by taking a banjo track, extending it and adding dance beats and synths to make an insistent sound that grabbed hold and would not let go, like something out of Deliverance.

Diablo came afterwards and did a similar thing with Spanish guitar and spaghetti western whistling, accompanied by an nervy rhythm track which seemed to take a frenetic robot hand to the strumming which twitched the body as trumpet blasts sounded out from the top. It’s almost to fast to keep up with, but I love its fast pace, as much as the moment when it all falls away and the frantic climbing allows for a look back at the spectacular view and the body’s muscles are allowed the ease of a pause.

Then, back in the saddle and it’s off again for more of the same. But it doesn’t leave you time to get bored. As a very amateur guitar player, I adore the (possibly studio-enhanced) dazzling mastery of the guitar work.

There was much that was unedifying and trying about the mid 90s, as I struggled with a second degree and other life lessons – I am glad there was such music to sustain me.


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