Review of Rodrigo y Gabriela's album 11:11
Rodrigo y Gabriela return with 11:11, an interesting concept record by the ex-busking flamenco inspired duo where each track is a homage to an artist- 11 in total. It sees the group take significant strides in songwriting, further augmenting their intimidating musicianship. Mixed interestingly by Colin Richardson, better known for work with modern metal bands, the group do take a slightly harder approach to the acoustic guitar as well as incorporating some effects that were missing from the self-titled debut.
This time, there's always chords running underneath the lead lines- as opposed to the gentle harmonising of the first record, a solid base to the songs can be felt throughout. It's definitely more of a headphones album than the last as well; again, a lot of work has been put in to making this a much better sounding record than the last, where the audio is concerned.
The choice of concept is a great one to avoid the record stagnating, with chosen artists ranging from obvious - Hendrix and Santana (which predictably take the first two slots on the album) to obscure: John McLaughlin's 70's fusion group Shakti is represented with some style. Pink Floyd and Dimebag Darrell make an appearance too with metal guitarist Alex Skolnick guesting on Atman. The homage tracks not only resemble the original artist's style, but their tonal accomplishments too: an autowah plays atop the solo in Buster Voodoo, the Hendrix track, for instance.
Rodrigo y Gabriela have the misfortune of fitting in rather well on a coffee table, or playing as background music. That said, it's not for everyone and to listen to all of it in a single sitting as your sole focus can drag. An astonishingly beautiful back half doesn't harm progress, but I do wonder how many will be paying attention by the time they get there. This is a record that rewards perseverance- listen to it in the foreground and immerse yourself.