Making Movies is a cultural explosion of music that reaches every aspect and senses, and consist of Enrique Javier Chi (Vocals, Guitar, Cuatro), Diego Samuel Chi (Bass, D-Synth, Vocals), Juan-Carlos Chaurand (Percussion, Keys, Vocals), and Brendan Ray Culp (Drums, Vocals.). Combining the musical elements that vary from alternative rock, Spanish Reggae, Rock en Español- or as they refer to themselves under the genre of “Psychedelic Latin”- Making Movies is a band that perfectly blends these backgrounds in a refreshing light, and revival of new Latin music in the United States. The fusion that combines the band consist of their traits that hail from Santiago, Panama, Kansas City, MO, and Guadalajara, Mexico. With so much diversity and Latin based upbringing, the end result is pure magic. Transitioning from Spanish to English in songs, yet still holding on to their roots, A La Deriva (2014), properly represented the beauty of music, its ability to cross barriers with any language, and the genuine sound of Making Movies.
When first introduced to “Cuna de Vida,” the immediate love was special. The title itself translates in English to, “Cradle of Life,” and lyrically the love are felt in both languages. Sometimes translating word for word may lose the essential meaning, yet something about the delivery brings out the essence of music; the universal language. It is the perfect track to start the album, considering its’ catchy and upbeat rhythmic qualities, noticeable reggae guitar picking, and beautiful Latin percussion, that is heard throughout A La Deriva.
Another notable song is “Lo Que Quiero,” the next track on the album, which picks up on the repetitive, and classic styles of Latin drumming. Enrique Chi sings a simple love melody, and slows down the atmospheric quality of the track. The strong urgency of wanting someone are felt in the lyrics: “Eres lo que quiero en este mundo, lo que yo extraño / Eres lo que quiero en este mundo, lo que me hace daño,” which translates to “You are what I want in this world, what I long for / you are what I want in this world, what causes me harm.” The tone exuded needs no translation if one does not understand the lyrics; the melody and tone in Chi’s voice is enough to feel the bittersweet desire.Picking up the mood, and heading into the realms of English, “Pendulum Swing,” delivers a punch. Referencing life and certain choices regarding the pendulum swing, and its momentum and ability to either “let you swing,” or “knock you down.” The cleverness and speed in the vocal delivery mimics the swinging of the pendulum, and will be classified as one of those songs to light a fire under you.
“Ego Trip,” is another English song on the album, mimicking salsa rhythms, and soft picks of nylon strings on a guitar being plucked. The harmony in the vocals is beautiful throughout the chorus and even exhibits a distorted guitar solo. Towards the end, two lines are then sung in Spanish and sang with a harder angst following the upbeat direction the song then takes. Chi’s vocal approach and emphasis on “hey” is the climatic part of the song, and a different tone being showcased versus previous songs. “Hey, oye que pena la pelea entre el orgullo y el cariño / Hey, oye que pena que no entiendo ni el orgullo y el cariño,” are the only lines repeated in Spanish during this track, and translated to: “Hey, what a shame the struggle between pride and affection / Hey, what a shame that I don’t understand neither pride or affection.” The decision to put the most powerful lines in Spanish are intriguing. Possibly the person being directed to will understand it more, or the language pertains more meaning behind it versus a literal transition. The decision, though, is what makes Making Movies stand out. The ability to have found a way to display themselves, and craft meaning in the art of language and music is heard on every song.
“Te Esteba Buscando” and “Luna,” will be more intimate songs with heartfelt lyrics. “Te Esteba Buscando,” is more of a reminiscent story, looking for someone. The break by the 3rd minute is beautiful, with a heavy direction in percussion as the band chimes in singing, “te esteba buscando.” The transition in tempo of this song seems effortless and should be admired. “Luna,” is a slower song, with sensual lyrics translating to “…the ocean isn’t the ocean if the moon doesn’t demonstrate its power.” Referring to a love of a woman, and overall theme of the moon (luna), both of these songs showcases emotions in relation to the moon. Based on the Latin culture of romance and symbolism that the moon upholds.
“Ciego Sin Querer,” is a song that needs to be heard without interruptions. The forth minute to the end of the song (5:42) is an intense explosion of guitars and vocal harmonies. “I want to be you blind man, without a care,” are the general lyrical description in the song; being hurt and coming to terms of being blind towards it all. The relatable and intimate lyrics followed by the music, is an overall execution on A La Deriva. “Ready for the Rain,” is no exception to the well-written storytelling, and another English track on the album. Simple lyrics stating that he is not “ready for the rain,” hinting at his time to be alone, and missing the lovers’ touch.
“Deriva,” is more of a haunting melancholy song, while the track “Hasta El Día de mi Muerte,” picks up the mood towards the end of the album, and seems to be one of their anthem based songs, influential drumming based once again on Salsa and Merengue traits.
The last track on the album is “Chase your tail,” which goes back and forth from English to Spanish within the song. The guitar picking, and similar qualities of the band singing in unity are heard towards the end as the song fades out.
Overall, A La Deriva, is an album that represents the true ideas of the band Making Movies. It is refreshing in every way, musically and lyrically, and combines passion, and almost lost beauty, that is heard in both languages. This is an album that translates to all languages based on the well-craft genius of their music.