The end of a decade for Mexican rock, a retrospective to Zurdok’s Synthesizer Man

// By: Oscar Adame

Fri August 12, 2022

By: Diego Vazquez

On August 12, 1999, the royal group Zurdok released their second studio album under the name of Hombre Sintetizador. From Monterrey, Nuevo León, the group led by Gerardo Garza Chetes, Fernando Martínez, David Izquierdo, Maurizio Terracina, Jorge «Fletch» ​​Saénz and Gustavo «Catsup» Hernández uncovered a picture of the Regal Advance.

This second plate is the successor of his debut album Antenna (1997) in which at that time they called themselves Zurdok Movement. With this album and with the beginning of the band, the so-called Avanzada regia emerged, with which Zurdok echoed beyond Monterrey along with other bands such as Plastilina Mosh, Jumbo, Control Machete, El Gran Silencio and more.

This was a cornerstone album for Zurdok to mutate, they shed their last name to just be Zurdok. His second album was widely applauded, standing out as perhaps the most relevant of his short discography, but which would essentially become a classic of the late 1990s.

Without hesitation, we could say that Zurdok commanded one of the first groups in the exponent of rock created in the north of the country, this combo of musicians said goodbye to a decade, the most fruitful of all time in band creation.

Although his debut album Antena was procreated with influences from the neighboring country and with that tint of 90s grunge; Synthesizer Man had them consolidate in the last wake, just before the new millennium entered.

Released under the Manicomio label, it is a material that was nurtured by the sound self-exploration of its members. Produced by Peter Reardon at Capitol Studios (Hollywood) and Tetragrammaton (Pasadena, California), it was the album that put them off the Mexican radar, and made them cross the pond.

For the fifteen tracks included on the LP, part of their sound was taken by their frontman, Chetes, and their bassist, Murizio Terracina. Synthesizer Man is an architect of a new generation of Mexican rock, where his primary sound was sound experimentation in the game of synthesizers and distorted voices, unusual in bands of his generation.

Zurdok’s lucky success was to emulate those classic Anglo records, which rocked back then. At that time there were few groups that were attracting attention with his proposal: Zoé, Jumbo, La Gusana Ciega and Plastilina Mosh.

They somehow showed their faces, for future bands that will follow in their footsteps, making Zurdok emerge as a group that would be on the shelves of national rock. Synthesizer Man was an album with little credibility of success, however, it saw the genesis of a band that would define a concept. Testifying that the year 99 was one of the most sustained in the germination of talent.

His appearance just over two decades later: Synthesizer Man by Zurdok is still a memorable album that encompasses the beginning of an era that is worth keeping in the drawer. Songs like ‘Abre los Ojos’, ‘How many Steps?’ or ‘Si me Advertí’ are part of that legacy that that material gave us.

It seems that Synthesizer Man intended to emulate telling us a story of Metaphors and a sense of travel, he was more focused on looking towards postmodernity. From its peculiar cover of a man (robot) with geometric figures.

It is an album that raises more questions than answers. With a philosophical perspective that raises from the basic and modern the meaning and nonsense of their own existence as human beings. An album that focuses on the search for the life purpose of any postmodern man.

In other words, Synthesizer Man: A concept album that reveals the journey of a character, from ignorance to truth. This is the most existentialist album , perhaps the most founded and created in a crucial decade ; and in which the new era was on its way.

The album is characterized by the large number of musical instruments that make it up and give texture and identity to each of the songs. Drums, Guitars, Bass, Double Bass, Banjo, Keyboards, Flutes, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Kettledrum, Cymbals, Harpsichord, Mouth Harp, Triangle, Tambourine, Rainstick, Vocoder, Marimba , kazoo flute, theremin, psaltery, harp, violins, shakers, cello, viola and bells are the instruments that can be heard on the album.

Defined as an eclectic and lofty journey, a “visionary” album that found an identity and is now trapped in time. The most momentous 60 minutes of the futuristic world.

The end of a decade for Mexican rock, a retrospective to Zurdok’s Synthesizer Man