hide captionThe Mexico City-based Mexican Institute of Sound consists not of an "institute," or even a band, but rather of just one man: Camilo Lara.
The Mexico City-based Mexican Institute of Sound consists not of an "institute," or even a band. It's just one man, Camilo Lara. Lara amuses himself by using the name "Mexican Institute of Sound." In Spanish, the initials are almost the same as the Mexican Institute of Health — the most bureaucratic institution he could think of.
Lara's new album, Soy Sauce, is the talk of the alternative music scene in Mexico City. It pushes eclecticism to a new level by mixing mariachi with hip-hop, rock and electronica, while some songs feel reminiscent of '80s British New Wave. There's a love song, "Te Quiero Mucho," which disintegrates into the braying of barnyard animals. He has a Mexican pop star, Paty Cantu, who usually sings soulful love songs in Spanish, appearing in a hip-hop tune in English.
Lara's album is multilayered in both sound and meaning. Even its title is a play on words. "Soy Sauce" can be read either in English or Spanish with completely different meanings. In Spanish, soy sauce means "I'm a willow tree."
Some of the songs are whimsical, while others are political. But Lara never takes himself too seriously. The most popular song from Soy Sauce, "Yo Digo Baila," is a bilingual call to get out on to the dance floor.