Becoming kissed by the sun can leave one delirious, left in a daze fuelled by a dizzying olfactory concoction of melting tarmac and flora in full bloom. A state of wandering intoxication heightened by the alarming midday heat unveils a nonsensical universe of curiously bizzare organisms; wandering in plain sight hidden only by sobriety’s sheltering lucidity, a veil now burnt to a crisp, their resemblence to the conscious world is familiar yet somehow tenuous: something feels remarkably unusual in this place, these creatures feel different to the touch – fuzzier, more colourful – and their stare comes from somewhere other than their eyes. Are these their truest incarnations, or just playful trickery inlicted upon our perception? There’s no real danger in finding out for yourself but luckily there exists a pathway without incurring heat stroke: found within the frenzied jive of Rostro del Sol’s equally sun-drenched frequencies, theirs is a jubilant highway of sound unlike any you’ll ever traverse within three lifetimes.
Enveloped by a glowing aura absorbing all the sun’s rays, Mexico’s Rostro del Sol (a name literally meaning “face of the sun”) are all too familiar with this universe, translating every sensation, every hair-raising pulse of air, into the free-form extravaganza cascading through your auditory canals from a singular point of origin – their self-titled debut. A multidimensional coronal mass ejection, Rostro del Sol surges through your very being, but instead of dismantling everything in its path it simply unplugs you from a detrimental mode of existence, thrusting you down the quartet’s prismatic highway at an otherworldly wild pace. These surges invade the brain with vivid vibrations, endlessly animating mind, body, and spirit with the same frenetic energy flowing through its creators, exponentially swelling inside until our vessels can no longer contain it. It is an overused cliché to say we become one with the music and yet we become so intune with this record’s rambunctious essence, so swept up in its uninhibited euphoria, such a statement could never be more true.
Like facing the solar winds head on, the physical body becomes awash with every formless jive crossing the intersection between two worlds; stood at the centre of a five-pointed formation between Rostro del Sol’s constituent members (and saxophonic maestro Dan Samhain), simultaneously duelling each other for dominance and finding that offbeat, harmonic sweetspot, every oscillation flows through different entry points before coalescing together – and when they do the result is simply explosive. Hearing guitarist Mitch Balaant swing with Baruch Hernandez’s organ-esque keys on the likes of ‘Effect of Creation’ feels much like two stars in close orbit with each other – the pull of which does inexplicable things to all matter within their range – before striking an incendiary balance on ‘Backyard Blues’. Punctuated throughout by Demian Burgos and Israel Mejía’s rhythmic voice, especially on the noteworthy adventures undertaken in ‘Tales…I-III’ – where moments of clarity give way to fanciful dismay without notice – the endless drifting through varying states of consciousness may feel daunting to the uninitiated and ill-prepared. Such hallucinatory voyages often yield disorientating results but by becoming dislocated from ourselves the record manifests its true identity: an omniscient sensatory lifeforce through which all existence can be healed.
With such an irregular heartbeat, Rostro del Sol transcends all rigidity of genre, the constraints of which long melted along with the immediate physical vicinity of the record. A mind-warping amalgamation of free jazz, prog, and psychedelia bouncing off the walls with unprecedented energy, the record is a rollercoaster ride through sound and perceptions, an exhilarating sun-blessed slab of lysergic wax as influential as everything predating its release. It leaves its audience discombobulated in the most freeing ways imaginable: free from rules, free from boundaries, free from the dissatisfaction of secularisation modernisation has inflicted upon our connections to the natural world and beyond. Just be prepared for an almighty comedown after the soul-igniting percussion solo on ‘Cynical Mind’ comes to an end or, as this writer continues to do, just hit that play button again and again.