Coyotzin - Despertar Del Hombre Jaguar (The Jaguarman Awakening)

Year of Release: 2000
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 36:47:00

As someone who is quite fond of the natural, earthy tones of so called "ethnic music" or "Fourth World" I am quite drawn to and drawn into Despertar Del Hombre Jaguar (The Jaguarman Awakening) by Coyotzin. Coyotzin sent me samples of three tracks, which after playing them several times, I asked him the following: "Are what sound like nature sounds on 'Tepoztepecuicatl (The Tepozteco Song)' natural or synthesized? There is a very live feel to them too, most noticeably on 'Tepoztepecuicatl (The Tepozteco Song)' ... which is rather refreshing in these days of overly produced product." Coyotzin's reply to me was: "[A]bout the sounds in the samples, those sounds are created with ancient Mexican prehispanic instruments (most of them clay, reed, wood and bone instruments) and my voice, I do not use synthesizers. All the instruments I play in the CD are replicas of ancient Mexican instruments (Maya, Aztec, Toltec, etc) and the progressive thing in the CD is that all the songs are enlaced (like Marillion or Pink Floyd albums) and it is a conceptual Disk." There is a certain life and warmth that authentic instruments lend to music. The list of instruments that Coyotzin utilized on this recording is extensive, and some go beyond authentic to organic - for example: turtle conch, deer hoof belt, seashell belts, seashell trumpets.

The liner notes includes this quote from José Corona Núñez: "The precolumbian Mexican man felt the creator's presence in the wind. But he did not know the creator's word until the wind flowed through a shell trumpet. Then the shell trumpet became the divine's word instrument. But the wind not only became the divine presence. It became the creator's word, the creator's blowing."

This is one of those releases that you cannot take in based on one or a few listenings, and it isn't one you can have playing as merely background music while you're completing some task. It is music that demands attention and attentiveness. The more you listen the deeper into the layers you go, where at first you may not have heard tinkling chimes, but several listens in, you can. "Smoking Mirror Visions" is just such a track.

The album opens with "Llamando A Los Rumbos Del Cosmos (Calling The Cosmic Routes)" a short piece of a calling tones - conchs it sounds like - that segues into the title track where rhythmic percussion pulses and beats like a living thing (perhaps the heart of the awakening Jaguarman). This is accented by a high whistling tone.

"Smoking Mirror Visions" uses darker colours - a single drum slowly sounds every ten seconds or so, while flute mingles with lighter, tinkling percussion, and harsh, breathy, wind-like tones. There is a thick headiness to the music, as if things have been slowed down. At about 4:45 monotone chanting voices sound, before a very high pitched tone comes in along with a quick, deep, rumbling drum. Coyotzin plays a variety of different flutes - single, double, and triple flutes, very high pitched Tezcaltipocan flutes, and both single and double ethnic reed flutes.

"La Danza De Huitzizillin (Humming Bird Dance)" starts out with birdsong, but a minute in, the percussion kicks in. This track strongly reminds me of Suspended Memories' Forgotten Gods album, the first collaboration (under that name) of Steve Roach, Suso Saiz and Jorge Reyes. Of course, part of that is because both of these artists (Coyotzin and Suspended Memories) are tapping into a similar well of influence, of music with a similar heritage.

"Tepoztepecuicatl (The Tepozteco Song)" is more like a dance, though the first few minutes of it has a tone that reminds me of Scottish bagpipes, though lighter than one usually hears from that instrument. The main lead instrument has flute-like colourings, and again percussion plays a large role in setting both the rhythm and the mood. "Tepoztepecuicatl" is light, catchy, and rhythmic, where Coyotzin might be called the Pied Piper of Mexico.

Percussive rhythms return for the energizing "Brotan Las Flores Del Árbol Florido (Budding The Flowers Of The Flourishing Tree)" and the album closes with "Descendiendo Al Mictlan (Descending To Mictlan)" which features (at least in part) gentle flute-like tones, a general sense of peace, of happiness. Sounds of birds chirping and singing add to the visualization of being in a thick, dense jungle, where long abandoned temples and dwellings of an almost forgotten age still tell their stories and histories to anyone attuned to listening. This and "Calling" neatly bookend the release, completing the circle.

As mentioned above, this is a concept album that concerns the "cycles of life. It also talks about the awakening of our inherited ancient cultural consciousness. It describes a magical voyage toward the interior of our Mother Earth & therefore into our being."

Llamando A Los Rumbos Del Cosmos (Calling The Cosmic Routes) (0:54) / Despertar Del Hombre Jaguar (The Jaguarman Awakening) (6:22) / Smoking Mirror Visions (6:06) / La Danza De Huitzizillin (Humming Bird Dance) (5:59) / Tepoztepecuicatl (The Tepozteco Song) (8:22) / Brotan Las Flores Del ?rbol Florido (Budding The Flowers Of The Flourishing Tree) (3:08) / Descendiendo Al Mictlan (Descending To Mictlan) (5:00) / ''untitled'' (0:56)

Coyotzin - numerous ancient Mexican instruments, about 40 in all

Despertar Del Hombre Jaguar (The Jaguarman Awakening) (2000)
Historias De Los Brujos - Primera Parte (Sorcerers Of Antiquity - Part One) (2003)
Historias De Los Brujos - Segunda Parte - Pop Wooh (Sorcerers Of Antiquity - Part Two) (2006)
ATL (mp3 format only) (2008)

Genre: Ambient

Origin MX

Added: December 26th 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1219
Language: english


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