The first track on Mati Zundel’s Amazonico Gravitante is a 45-second introduction to Zundel’s world. There’s no instrumentation or vocals, just a man whistling in the Argentinian wilderness. And then, a shotgun blast of throbbing sound. From there, the album fluctuates in energy, but one thing is constant throughout: the presence of the album’s atmospheric intro. Zundel was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and that fact flavors each song on the album. Many people might be a little wary toward world music, but Zundel’s influences are so eclectic that even your garden variety indie-rock fan could find something to like about this album.
Amazonico Gravitante plays like an audiobook that details the history and prominent musical genres in Argentina. Zundel blends together a variety of influences including chacarera, huayno and Argentinian folklore music. When all meshed together, it creates these lively, powerful sounds that pulse with Argentinian culture. Zundel’s favorite genre to pick from seems to be cumbia, a Latin American genre that was originally used for courtship dances but has since expanded. Despite the influences, each song carries a modern sensibility with it. Zundel has a love for dance and electronic music, and that’s what gives him that modern edge. Throughout the album, Zundel utilizes synthesizers and drum beats that would seem right at home in a dance club. This sensibility is apparent in “Aero Tinku,” a song that finds a way to make Andean pan flutes blend effortlessly with an upbeat electronic soundtrack. Zundel isn’t a one trick pony, though. While his more energetic songs will most likely stick with you the most, Zundel also knows how to dial it down with strong, guitar-driven melodies, like in “La Montaña En El Medio Del Mundo.”
Only a few tracks on the album feature Zundel’s voice, but it’s always a welcome addition. He’s capable of many ranges, at one point serving as the head of the party, the next as a more intimate vocalist. It might seem like Amazonico Gravitante is a concept album of sorts, but it’s really more of a love letter to Zundel’s musical upbringing. Zundel doesn’t just imitate his influences; he injects his individual style into them. The end result is an extremely original debut from an artist who knows exactly where he came from.