REVIEW: Joachim Cooder’s Fuschia Machu Picchu is Blues Rock Tropical Rhythms


Percussionist and producer Joachim Cooder considers the EP Fuchsia Machu Picchu (Temple of Leaves), recorded at Wireland in Chatham, CA, his first solo record.  Joachim, the son of legendary guitarist Ry Cooder, has worked as a professional musician for more than two decades.  In an industry rife with broken families, the Cooders have maintained a close, steady personal and professional relationship, with Cooder playing on his father’s records since his teens.  Here, Ry returns the favor, playing guitar and bass for Joachim.  Stuart Levine provides saxophone, Juliette Commagere lends piano, and there are contributions provided by Yamir Yaghmai, Michael Tritter, Robert Francis, Vieux Farka Toure and Souleymane Kane

The lush, exotic instrumentation on Fuchsia Machu Picchu evidences the influence Joachim has felt working with and listening to the many musicians in his family’s life. Joachim has spoken of the album drawing on Ali Farka Toure and John Lee Hooker, and album sounds like a composition of blues rock and tropical rhythms, but even that doesn’t quite describe it.  Joachim himself says it best, “I’m always hearing some sort of defunct cosmic ice cream truck in my head – that’s the sound I’m after with my mbiras and tank drums and other tuned percussion. Hopefully people will get that.”

Joachim describes the songs as about longing, love, and the inner life of inanimate objects.  “Elevated Boy,” inspired by his experiences as a relatively new parent, is about the life of his daughter’s doll.  

The subject matter and the sound of Fuchsia Machu Picchu will take the listener to a strange but gentle new destination with an artist who is full of exciting new ideas.  It sounds phenomenal; the musicianship is of the high quality, and the production values are superb. Take a ride in Joachim’s cosmic ice cream truck, and maybe circle around the block a few times.

Though he’ll just turn 40 this year, Joachim Cooder has as much musical experience as artists decades his senior.  I consider Fuchsia Machu Picchu a promise, a teaser.  Joachim has immense talents, and is bursting with creativity.  What will he do when makes a full LP?   Until then, find his EP and his tour dates, here.

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Joachim Cooder’s Fuschia Machu Picchu is Blues Rock Tropical Rhythms

  1. Joachim is an artist that has had broader listening from an earlier age than probably any other artist you can think of. Just thinking about the first of his father’s albums that he played on was “Meeting at the River” with VM Bhatt…. His development as an artist has made him pretty unique.

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