Carlos GoGo Gomez
New Paradigm Global Music (Kidlat Records, 2011)
Carlos Gomez explores the wonders of electronica and percussion in
New Paradigm Global Music. The colorful psychedelic cover of the album gives you a good idea of the wonders contained in the CD. Gomez easily manages to lead the listener from hypnotic electronic ambiance to lounge and trance-like moods in a mesmerizing confluence of electronic drones, spoken word meditation and fiery acoustic percussion.
Carlos “Go Go” Gomez is a master musician, priest, and martial artist. “One of the reasons for creating this music was to integrate the various parts of my life into one,” Gomez explains. “I wanted to break down those barriers that exist between being a priest here and a musician there and a martial artist over there.”
Gomez was raised in the Bronx (New York City) and grew up playing drums at a very young age. He was fascinated by both the Santeria saints and orishas of his Cuban mother and the Latin rock of Carlos Santana, Gomez became a professional musician and yogi in his teens. He founded the group Seguida with close friends. Seguida expanded into soul, funk, and disco territory.
His hard work as a percussionist affected his health and nearly cost him his life. When doctors gave up on him, he found an Akan (West African) priest in Queens (New york), who helped him heal through herbs and prayer. This series of events had an essential effect in his life. He traveled to Nigeria and became an Ifa priest himself. Currently, he practices physical disciplines such as jeet kune do (hybrid martial arts system and life philosophy founded by Bruce Lee), tae kwon do (Korean martial art), and yoga, and spiritual ones, such as reading and studying intensively about theosophy, the Kabbalah, and practicing meditation, Taoism, and Inner Alchemy.
The pieces include an old santeria melody called “Aremu Odudua,” and a mantra titled “Metu Neter,” that combines layers of sounds from different philosophies and faiths. “If you listen carefully, there are three levels,” Gomez explains. “The classic OM is divided into five different sounds, as it was taught to me at the Satchidananda Center in New York almost forty years ago. The second layer is a Taoist mantra, and finally the third is an Arabic chant reminiscent of the call to prayer. This was designed to represent the essential unity of all religions, that they are all part of the Universal Truth.”
“On ‘Metu Neter,’ I was trying to constantly change my conga playing in a subtle way; it’s a metaphysical part of the song,” Gomez reflects. “Pop music requires absolute precise repetition, and before digital recording, I had to do it physically. That’s how I got on so many records. But I’m breaking that mold, and instead, I’m trying to create constant subtle change so that you barely even notice it, much like life.”
“I love movement, and that’s why I did yoga and martial arts. But many people think dance and movement is just about seduction and sex,” muses Gomez. “Yet there’s also dancing for your own personal joy and for your spirit. Dancing can lead to internalization, to a transformative state of ecstasy and bliss.”
New Paradigm Global Music is a portrait of Gomez’s inner self. “It’s an invitation to go inside, for listeners to reach the same state I found that day,” Gomez notes.
New Paradigm Global Music is a superb intermixture of ambient electronica, Latin beats and metaphysical inspiration.