Fans of Tom Zé, Fela Kuti and Dub will find reason to rejoice in the music of Puerto Rican-bred musician Mofongo.
mo·fon·go (m_-f_ng’g_, m_-f_n’-)
1. A Puerto Rican dish made of mashed plantains, garlic, and pork cracklings.
2. A Puerto Rican electro-acoustic composer with a penchant for plantains and Dub
Unbound by intellectual convention, the music of Jose Ayala aka Mofongo balances the past and future, assembling a vivid collage of musical influences that transforms customs while preserving their essence. His new EP, Tumbao from Aagoo Records (Au, Zemog El Gallo Beuno) combines found sounds, samples and field recordings with a rhythmic complexity influenced by traditional Latin music.
Growing up in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Ayala was inspired by Salsa, Tom Zé, Fela Kuti, Varèse and Dub. He moved to Boston to study classical guitar at the New England Conservatory, but was sidelined by tendonitis. He returned a year later to study classical composition and improvisation under Joe Maneri and Ran Blake and began playing in the experimental salsa band, Jayuya.
The physical and interpersonal demands of playing live for fours years took its toll and Ayala soon began to experiment with electronic music. His roommate at the time, Keith Fullerton Whitman, introduced him to bedroom production and with access to Whitman’s huge record collection, Ayala began making music in a completely different way. Ayala’s process can begin with anything — a stray sound, melody or drum track. Slowly, he adds, subtracts and reshuffles, trying not to force anything and letting the sounds find their place among themselves.
At times abrasive, the music confronts the listener and commands attention. Ayala continues to move forward as an artist and experiment with new technologies. He is currently designing “The Plantain Maker,” live-looping software that will allow him to use large library of evolving sounds in live performances, pushing further the improvisational aspects of his eclectic and personal music.
Stream The EP HERE