Words by Ed Stocker
Funked-up protest music for the dance floor
The Mexican Institute of Sound certainly know how to have a knees-up – in the pot of musical treats is everything from hip-hop and cumbia to mariachi horn lines. But DJ Camilo Lara, the man behind the music, is also fiercely political, a reflection of what’s currently happening in Mexico. The international press continues to rebound with tales of corruption, drug violence and social disharmony – most recently the protests in the aftermath of the heavily contested election victory of Enrique Peña Nieto (currently president-elect) – and this has clearly rubbed on MIS’s excellent third album.
One gets the feeling Lara has had enough, and he goes about telling listeners through a witty, sideways look at society. MIS isn’t afraid to tell it how it is – something that has caused controversy at home. ‘México’, released as a single with an accompanying video that features the Yo Soy 132 social movement, opens with wistful, Beirut-esque mariachi horns before a beat is dropped that sounds like it’s been lifted from a Daft Punk record.
Then the cutting lyrics: ‘we’re all victims of a confiscated state/with a government mixed up in drug profits/this is a rotten nation with a wounded population.’ MIS is equally political on the electro track ‘Especulando’ (Speculating) and ‘Revolución!,’ a wry look at society set to a turbo-speed folkloric backdrop. But Lara also knows how to just have fun, as on the super-catchy ‘Se Baila Así’ (This is How to Dance), a blend of old-time Mexicana and modern dance music. Comprising entirely original music composed with a house band and vocalist, this is another challenging, genre-defying raised middle finger to the Mexican establishment.