DDLO (Descargas de La Onda) – La Gloria
2019/Monadic Music (BMI)
DDLO’s second EP release! Featuring Deuce Eclipse (Bang Data) singing on the classic Arsenio Rodriguez tune – “La Vida Es Un Sueño,”
La Gloria is a mixture of Banda/Cumbia, classic Salsa/Son (with some edge), Bolero and a very non-traditional Guaguancó. Interwoven with atmospheric swells, La Gloria conveyes traditional Latin, Afro-Cuban, and Jazz song styles with a modern edge. Available on BANDCAMP and everywhere else.
DDLO (Descargas de La Onda) – Sueños de Luna y Mar
2018/Monadic Music (BMI)
DDLO (descargas de la onda) is a latin-music collective of musicians from Oakland, CA and the San Francisco Bay Area. the consists of various combinations of cumbias, salsa, son, jazz and rock. traditional instruments with electronic instruments, abstract poetry and captures an air of magical realism. An IJ Smith production, DDLO includes musicians such as Tony DaQuipa: congas/drums, Pablo Conte: drums/percussion, IJ Smith: guitars/tres, keyboards/percussion, Adrian Gormeley: bass clarinet/clarinet/tenor saxophone, and Bill Swan: trumpet.
Some quotes from reviews…
‘El Dia Que Llego El Payaso’ is easily the slickest track on the EP. All the quintessential ingredients for Latin music are mixed with complementary modern aspects from other types of fusion. Fingerstyle acoustics, lively percussion, and choral chants (en Espanol) are back-to-back with trippy, Santana-esque electric lead lines, while brass solos fill out the remainder. All the lead work here is a joy to listen to; the whining trumpets act as the perfect melodic motif carried over the bouncy rhythms.
The EP closer is a more melancholic number in the traditional lineage of Latin American and Spanish guitar work. Supporting the tearful fingerstyle lines is a heavily-reverberated set of pan pipes, drafting a vital side of the Latin musical tapestry.
The vibe takes a turn into the mysterious and even bizarre on ‘El Pulpo y la Luna’, with wonky, Beefheart-esque clarinet lines parading in turns with slippery slide guitar lines and floating organ arpeggios. The intro itself is dripping in eerie atmospheres as a dissonant, psychedelic guitar melody sits on top of percussion flourishes and dead air. As the rhythm takes form, the piece becomes more of a paced journey into further confusion rather than the ominous static nature of the opening. All of the above sounds like it just shouldn’t work, yet somehow the formula defies logic and is curiously addictive, start to finish.
If Rodrigo y Gabriela or Buena Vista Social Club have ever been on your playlist, DDLO is an essential listen.
I don’t know enough Spanish to follow what’s happening in the call-and-response vocals when they shout “¡Payaso! (“clown”), but everyone involved seems to be having fun. You will too. The spooky electric guitar figure that opens “El Pulpo y la Luna” (“The Octopus and the Moon”) suggests an effective combination of Latin musical textures with space-rock a la Pink Floyd. The bass clarinet that shows up mid song is unexpected yet welcome. And the slide guitar that follows is mesmerizing.
(Bill Kopp – Musoscribe)
i.j. s m i t h – Trickles and Floods
2004/Monadic Music (BMI)
With guest artists such as Ben Barnes (Deadweight)
Sam Bass (Deadweight), Micah Epps, Daniel Soto,
Jason Schwartz (Boxcar Saints/Eyeo) and featuring Allison Lovejoy on “Let it Me”, Trickles and Floods proves itself an exceptional work, a rollercoaster of diversity.
Trickles and Floods has a “California poetique” feel — it’s elegant and nasty and spacy-vibed, all in one funky package. From jazz to rock to flamenco to soul, I.J. Smith’s eclectic sensibilities are far-reaching, pushing the boundaries between artistic schools of thought.
With a voice like an avant-garde hipster/spiritual gangster smoking cigarillos out on a sun-drenched Southern Californian horizon, waiting to shoot someone down in a flurry of broken rhymes and challenging musical seismographic sensoria, Smith throws his half-spoken, half-sung poetry into the mix. His songs center around finding a spiritual existence, and range from explorations the soul’s dark places, such as “Egg Shells” and “Untitled”, to wonderment at the sublime, best exemplified by two of Trickles and Floods’ three instrumentals — “El Camino de Los Chingones” and “Lazy in the Grass (a Sierra Butterfly)”. The instrumentals also showcase Smith’s stellar musical talents, most notably his slick guitar-work. But don’t be mistaken: he’s backed up by a collection of extremely capable musicians.
Just beneath of it all, there’s a sense of an understanding of not understanding, a kind of aching, Zen-like sadness that cuts very deep and pulls everything together into some sort of ecumenical whole. Loss is its common denominator: lost plans, lost dreams, lost lives, and most notably loss of self. Knowledge comes in fleeting glimpses, and rarely, at that. This can best be heard on “Smoke and Mirrors”, where we’re thrown headlong into the stumbling, deconstructionist sense of a decentered self, or on the bizarrely ironic “A Clear Head”, in which we’re hit with a barrage of difficult, disjointed sounds that match the internal noise from a cluttered head. Even on “Moonflower”, which celebrates finding the one, there’s still a sense of unspoken incompleteness: one hoping to be restored, hoping to be healed, lifted up to an otherworldly existence.
In Trickles and Floods, we hear a man coming through the other side of an existential crisis — a man who isn’t so much transformed as resigned to the realm of the unknowing. Smith’s songs acknowledge and accept life’s illusory quality — something just beyond the goals for which our hearts yearn. Sometimes he embraces this joyfully, and sometimes it depresses him; sometimes he’s in a state of complete and utter awe. There’s an intrinsic value to this sensitivity, this ability to sit inside this meditative state of being without coming across as forlornly nihilistic or woefully maudlin. Smith finds the sweet spot and rides it into the sunset, completing the picture with long blue convertible, wing tip shoes and wraparound shades — not because they’re cool, but because they’re an essential part of the world’s illusion.
— Emory Elkins
i.j. s m i t h – Troubled
2001/Monadic Music (BMI)