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Ziroq – there’s a band I can guarantee most of you won’t have heard of. I guess the musical style can best be described as “world music”. Spanish style guitar and cadenced percussion easily describe this album introducing fiery, passionate performances and memories of getting drunk in the “locals” bars in Spain.

Ziroq
The Album
I think this is going to be a hard sell. You see, not many people out there would gladly part with their money on a DVD-Audio disc they hadn’t heard before hand. The album is sung by the bilingual Marcus Nand and therefore some of the tracks are in English and others in Spanish. A slight Chris Isaac, or even Bryan Adams grate in his voice makes the songs sound softer and warmer. The plucking of the guitar strings is well presented on the DVD-Audio soundtrack. Contando Cacahuetes and Voices (amongst others) are good examples of the soothing flamenco and Latin American style guitar that the band is creating their sound from.

The mix does favour the front channels more than I would have liked, as the eclectic guitar and percussion from Ziroq would have worked well in a true surround mix with different instruments coming from different speakers at times. A perfect example of this can be see with the mix of REM’s Automatic for the People. That’s not to say the rear speakers aren’t used. They are used throughout the album, but to a lesser extent than the front speakers. There are a few instances of separate sounds originating from the rear speakers, but they are not as often as I would have preferred to give the impression of total envelopment in the sound.

Ziroq
Extras
Three music videos are included on this DVD, each featuring both stereo and 5.1 soundtracks. The video compression is high on the first ( Cerca De Mi) resulting in compression artifacting, and the original footage was not shot on particularly high quality film anyway, so the presentation here is a little lack lustre. The next two videos are live performances of Reina and Ziroq (yes, they named a song after the band). These are also presented with both soundtracks and the video quality is higher making these both valuable inclusions for any fans. I always think you can tell a band’s worth by its live performances and here Ziroq do not disappoint. Unlike many of today’s “rock” bands, which are really just pop bands with more guitars, these guys can really play and the vocals are also excellent. On a side note I saw a live performance of pretend rocker and pop star Avril Lavigne the other day – it sounded nothing like her album which means a lot of post production was done on it. Here the quality and talent are so high in the first place that I cannot imagine much work was required after the recordings.

Next up is an Interview with Nand and Carmine Rojas (bass) which is presented in English and Spanish. Nand is one of those people that is properly bilingual – you wouldn’t know he could speak Spanish from listening to his English. They talk about the name of the band, how it came together and where they gypsy style of playing originated from. This lasts for five minutes and I found it pretty interesting to see the band talking about their roots. Following this is a Scrapbook of photos from various live gigs, posed photos and general behind the scenes tomfoolery. The Biography is next which just introduces you to the band, their ideas and again, how they formed and where the name came from. This is available in English and Spanish. The usual Silverline features are also present including a section entitled About DVD-Audio, Speaker Setup and the album Credits. One thing I found odd was the choice of on screen photos presented with each track. They seemed very random with little to no connection with the band. Shots of some small rowing boats floating on the water, a sunset and a desert scene while beautiful, but don’t really scream Ziroq at me which is a shame as the rest of the menus are reasonably well presented. It might be an attempt to get you to drift off to sleep, dreaming of your next holiday but it didn’t feel quite right for me. I like to have a link between the onscreen and the audio presentation.  

Ziroq
Overall
I enjoyed this album and am looking forward to hearing it in the summer time, whilst sitting outside. Certainly I would not have considered adding this to my DVD-Audio collection normally but now I have decided it to be more than welcome. With the recent spate of Latin American style music hitting the charts I would imagine that this disc would be welcome in a lot of other peoples music collections (not those of you that buy Jennifer Lopez albums, but those of you that like proper music). The inclusion of the three video extras was also pleasant and the interview, if a little short was worthy of note. A fine album by some very talents musicians, if Latin/Spanish/African music is your thing.


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