These times of global chaos call for introspection and to reconnect with nature, and Richie Hell's latest release is the perfect soundtrack for both. "Amazonia," featuring Peruvian legends Los Mirlos, is a psychedelic acid cumbia trip that combines hypnotic percussion, pulsating guitars with voices, and sounds from the South American rainforest.
Hell's new single is the second release off his upcoming album, The Gumbo Limbo Experiment, due out August 14 on Miami's Sweat Records Records. "Amazonia" has a visual component, a kaleidoscopic video created by accomplished artist Francisca Oyhanarte, who also designed the album cover and all the artwork behind the release.
For Hell, who grew up in Argentina as a fan of psychedelic cumbia, collaborating with Peruvian band Los Mirlos is a true highlight. He met the music icons in Buenos Aires back in 2017 when a friend was filming a documentary about the band. A few months after that first encounter, Richie approached the group with the idea of a collaboration. The result is "Amazonia," which features Los Mirlos' Don Jorge Rodriguez on vocals and Danny Johnston on guitars.
Hell describes his new song as "a celebration of life, an invitation to the underworld, and a warning from Mother Earth to us humans."
"We must stop destroying life right now and tune in with the vibration of the world," he adds. "This music serves as psychedelic medicine to help you through this journey of discovery and enlightenment."
From a creative standpoint, the main difference between Hell's previous album, Future Blues, and the upcoming The Gumbo Limbo Experiment, is the collaborative nature of the latter. "Amazonia" is the first Richie Hell track to include guest artists.
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"I learned a lot from this experience on how to leave room for the other one to express fully and shine their light and, at the same time, lose control on my end, to let ideas flow regardless on whose idea it was, creating a win-win situation for all of us," Hell explains.
The nine-track LP also features Atlanta-based rapper Black Bobby; Richie's sister, Martes, who composed two tracks and sang on most of the tracks; and Richie's wife, Francisca, who adds the visual elements to Hell's sonic universe.
Recorded in Miami, The Gumbo Limbo Experiment represents both a literal and figurative journey for Hell.
"It's a journey from darkness to light while searching for my own identity in a new country," he says. "It's a channel I opened to talk with nature and the higher powers. It is also my latest skin shed, the same way the gumbo limbo tree changes its skin every season."