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The Black Light

4.6 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 19, 1998
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Product Description

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The perfect soundtrack for a summer roadtrip in an old car across Death Valley. Calexico's musical textures are woven out of a dazzling array of instruments and styles, including mariachi trumpets, countrified pedal steel, Latin jazz percussion, and carnival organ, just to name a few. The songs move at siesta speed, casually looping and loping along, never getting overheated. Bandmates Joey Burns and John Convertino have their hands in so many musical pies--including projects with OP8, Giant Sand, Victoria Williams, Giant Sand, and Richard Buckner--one wonders how they find the time to create the sun-soaked music of Calexico. But thank God they have. --Tod Nelson
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 19, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Quarterstick Records
  • ASIN: B0000064B7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,740 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ahh, the world that is Calexico...once you've heard "The Black Light" and their early effort, "Spoke", you'll never want to leave Calexico's vision of what our world should be: smooth, mischievous, cultural, sorrowful, slightly representative of a jam session, sadly sweet (the kind that leaves a Mona Lisa smile on one's face), and wholly remarkable. Throw in a couple of fiestas and this album is a solid listen. If you hear only one song on this CD, catch "Bloodflow." Its slow, sensuous crescendo will set you on fire.
A friend loaned me her CD and after a couple of weeks, commented that I was going to overdose on it - that's how good "The Black Light" is. Even after all those rotations, I'm still listening and appreciating nuances not caught in the first few go-rounds. If you haven't already guessed, I highly recommend this album.
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Format: Audio CD
A huge surprise this one...having never heard their songs before, I was excepting something along the lines of an accomplished Alternative Country act, but I was seriously impressed by how much more versatile they are. More of an `Americana' band that mix the more subtle delicate side of indie rock, borne out with acoustic guitar, Piano, accordion, Percussion and a healthy dose of Trumpet & Violin....they consist around mostly harmonious instrumental tracks, with several vocals tracks "The Ride Pt II / Missing / Trigger" after every 3-4 instrumental tracks. But focusing on their instrumental tracks "Gypsy's Curse" is a lap steel pedal driven spaghetti western composition, to rank amongst the finest in the field. And as if they wasn't enough, they firmly encroach on "The Gotan Project" territory will their beautifully elegant "Minas de Cobre (For Better Metal)" elevating them to proprietors of wonderfully emotional music.
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Format: Audio CD
From the moment I heard the first notes of Calexico's "The Black Light", I was hooked. It replaced Swell's "41" as my favorite album of the 1990s. Desert film-noir soundtrack music at its best (and way better than FODM!). Dark, brooding, and introspective, yet thematic, inspirational, and haunting. A must listen for fans of Cormac McCarthy's epic book "Blood Meridian". Imagine being lost in a dusty town of ill repute, asking an old drifter for directions, and he says "follow her hands, to the dark end of the street..." Also, one question for the Calexico faithful, does anyone know if their new album "Tete a tete" really coming out Jan. 25th? CMJ says April. Quarterstick Records will release "Descamino" on Jan. 18th, which includes remixes of "The Black Light".
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By A Customer on December 17, 1999
Format: Audio CD
this CD is totally cool and evocative of many things. It makes me nostalgic for things I've never experienced. There are a lot of good melodies on this disc, most of which are minor keyed and thus, all the more beautiful. If you like surf guitar and lo-fi type stuff, this might be something you can dig. Hell, who knew I'd ever like a CD with elements of mariachi in it? It all makes me wanna smoke, which I don't do anymore.
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Format: Audio CD
Alternative country in its best!
Calexico made a damn good album. The music includes western, Mexican and gipsy themes, and combines them well with humor and grace.
A "must have" for every music lover.
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Format: Audio CD
Hailing from the Sonora Desert in Arizona originally, Calexico sounds like home to me. Their intelligent use of a variety of styles paints an absolutely vivid mental picture of a land where "cool" is more than a state of mind, it's a way of life! The songs on The Black Light produce a remarkable amount of cohesion, from little vignettes to songs like "Frontera" and "Gypsy's Curse," which are soundtrack ready for any movie dealing with the enchantment of the desert. "Chach" and "Minas de Cobre" are my current favorites on the record, although this changes every dozen listens or so. The combination of Mariachi, country, rock'n'roll, surf, etc. leads to an amazing sound that needs to be experienced for full understanding. Even tunes like "Old Man Waltz," which sounds as though it should be in some Italian minstrel performance, display a unique vision among the two guys that are Calexico. For further listening enjoyment, check out their first record or the two records from the Friends of Dean Martinez, the band that spawned Calexico. Overall, one of the best records of the year, even if you don't find it on any magazine lists or award shows!
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By A Customer on April 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I first heard Calexico when they opened for Pavement in S.F. last year. Every time I've listened to one of their CDs since then I have had a different experience of this band's extraordinarily versatile sound; different hearings can get you to think of blues songs and folk lieder, as well as of Pavement's lo-fi rock. The lyrics perform border-crossings of their own, returning to the themes of the border and of the journey. Although this album expands Calexico's range still further than -Spoke-, a debut which (strangely for an indie album) weaves together some ten different instruments, the themes remain solidly local -- in his spare lyrics Joey Burns, allowing the band's sheer instrumental virtuosity to overshadow him, recounts noirish episodes with the bleak detachment of a traveller waiting out a sandstorm.
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