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Area 52 [2 CD]

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Audio CD, January 24, 2012
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Frequently Bought Together

Area 52 [2 CD] + 9 Dead Alive + Rodrigo y Gabriela (with Bonus DVD)
Price for all three: $33.87

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Editorial Reviews

ATO Records is excited to announce the release of the new studio album by Rodrigo y Gabriela. Entitled Area 52, the record was produced by the legendary Peter Asher and will come out on January 24, 2012. Area 52 contains nine of Rod and Gab's favorite songs from their own catalogue re-arranged and re-configured for a 13-piece Cuban orchestra comprised of some of Havana's finest young players, collectively known as C.U.B.A. This two-disc set includes a 30-minute 'making-of' documentary on DVD.

Area 52 was mixed by Rafa Sardina, one of the leading studio musicians in the Latin music world, and arranged by London-based pianist, composer and arranger Alex Wilson. Recording took place in the Miramar district of Havana, Cuba, at Abdala Studios, founded by the Cuban folk hero Silvio Rodriguez, as well as at Rod and Gab s studio in Ixtapa, Mexico. Other players on the record include: bassist Carles Benavent (Paco De Lucia, Chick Corea, Miles Davis), drummer John Tempesta (The Cult, Testament, White Zombie), sitarist Anoushka Shankar and drummer Samuel Formell (Los Van Van).

With career sales in excess of 1.2 million albums, blockbuster movie scores, sell out world tours that span London to Los Angeles, Paris to Tokyo and Dublin to Sydney, and not forgetting the love and respect of fellow musicians like Metallica, Rage Against The Machine, Al Di Meola and L Shankar, Rodrigo y Gabriela have worked hard to reach Area 52.

1. Santo Domingo
2. Hanuman
3. Ixtapa
4. 11:11
5. Master Maqui
6. Diablo Rojo
7. Logos
8. Juan Loco
9. Tamacun

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 24, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: January 24, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: ATO Records
  • ASIN: B0069B8UHE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,342 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Giacomo Holdini on June 25, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Another victim of the loudness wars bites the dust. The music here is excellent, but it's hard to appreciate it as music due to the outrageous levels of compression used by the mastering engineer. This isn't quite on the same level as Metallica's Death Magnetic in terms of the "brick wall" approach to limiting and loudness, but given the nature of the music, it might as well be. This is acoustic Latin music (with some electricity thrown in for good measure), and needs room to breathe. It gets absolutely none on this disc.

I did not start out listening to this with the intention of critiquing its sound; I simply wanted to enjoy the music. I am a big fan of Rodgrigo y Gabriela, and have all of their albums. Within the first few seconds of the first track, though, I knew my ears were up against something pretty problematic. I decided to rip a few tracks into waveform and check them out in a wave editor: they look like a bottle brush. Peaks are shaved, with clipping present in some areas, and there is no difference between soft and loud in these songs. (See the comment section for a link to a waveform pic.) The volume numbers say it all: Track 1 peak volume is 100% of maximum gain, and average volume is 92%. The rest of the tracks have similar dynamics.

The production techniques themselves do not help matters any. In fact, while the compression via the mastering is undeniable, a good deal of what makes this album sound claustrophobic is the engineering of the recording itself. Microphone placement is ultra-close, so there is no sense of space or place to the sound. Also, everything is bright, and completely in your face. Any thrill I might get from the sound of a great band/orchestra really tearing out is seriously diminished.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By mattyd on January 24, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Just WOW!

For those who are looking at the track listing and thinking, "I already have most of those songs on other discs," NO YOU DON'T! Not like this. C.U.B.A. changes everything. Dramatically.

The addition of the horns and percussion really cranks up the energy level of this duo's music in a big way. It also demonstrates something interesting about their music: the "Latin-ness" of it has always been there, but in way that was less recognizable. Hearing it in the context of a distinctly Latin Rumba Cubana band, it seems obvious that many these songs were always salsa- and rumba-style songs, but performed in a way came across differently. Now, hearing the Latin percussion and the blaring, sassy horns, this stuff actually makes you want to dance!

But, it's not just the energy level of the music that impresses: this album also demonstrates a level of musical maturity that hasn't necessarily been expressed in most of their previous work. There is a breadth and depth here that I haven't heard from them before now. The music has strong, well-arranged jazz elements. And there are surprises. For example, an extended, very soulful sitar solo by guest musician Anoushka Shankar on Ixtapa. It's beautiful, and fits naturally with this version of the song. Lots of other guests grace this disc, too many to list, just suffice it to say that everyone who contributed contributed well, and the music as a whole benefits by the contributions of all of the musicians.

All of these other instruments and musicians do not, however, diminish the prominence of Rod and Gab's playing. Rather, they enhance and amplify it with texture, context, syncopation and band interaction, precisely as a good band should.

The entire album is very well mixed and engineered.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Storylover TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 24, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I'm gonna review this record. But before I do, stop reading, buy the disc, would you? Then come back. I'll be here, and you'll get it that much faster.

OK, I'm still here. Did you get it? Good. Because it is exactly what the doctor ordered. Flamenco on fire meets Cuban salsa and son in a blazing hail of strummed and plucked guitar madness, punctuated by sizzling horn breakdowns and mindnumbingly fast beats. This record makes you want to put on a puffy shirt and tight leather pants and do your best Antonio Banderas with a rose in your mouth. This record makes you want to toss back a double shot of tequila, chase it with some rum, and grab the nearest partner and prove to the world that you should have won Dancing With the Stars instead of Donny Osmond. Then, you'll want to mount an insurrection, set Havana aflame, and lead a popular revolution through steaming downtown streets.

This album is a pure shot of seduction soaked adrenaline blazing up your veins and into your heart. Pure delight, pure fun, pure love, pure mischief, and--as expected from R&G--completely amazing. Now, if you didn't take my advice in the first sentence, do yourself a favor and take my advice now. Get this disc as fast as you can, give it to that special someone, and prepare to do things you'll wonder why you hadn't been doing anyway...;-).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kim A. Mcginnis on April 16, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This combination of a Cuban All-star Band and these 2 splendid neuvo flaminco guitar players leads to some splendid redo's of old material, but some of the arrangements are over done and lead to some busy numbers were it's hard to pick out the guitars. There are enough splendid moments with the old material keep one interested, even though new music is mostly missing.
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Area 52 [2 CD]
This item: Area 52 [2 CD]
Price: $11.88
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