(Wax Poetics Records)
Anyone who still thinks that deep soul and electronic
music are somehow mutually exclusive should spend some time with Chico Mann’s
second solo release, Analog Drift.
Mann, born Marcos Garcia to musical and music industry
insider parents, is known to Afrobeat fans worldwide as the guitar player and
occasional vocalist for the mighty Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. Mann
takes the far-reaching horizons of Antibalas and expands them out even further,
pulling in Afro-Cuban funk, hip hop, the wide panoply of New York, Miami and
Caribbean based Latin musics and some reggae riddims, all fused with a tasteful
electronic touch. Mann plays almost all of the instruments on Analog Drift,
playing guitar, bass, synths and programming and singing most of the
album in Spanish. He contributes eleven original numbers and a nifty version of
Talking Heads’ “Once In a Lifetime.”
Mann has a real knack for catchy electro funk, and his
electronics-based mélange is truly a global approach to musical fusion.
But Mann never forgets the funk, and his guitar and bass playing is as
essential and impressive as his considerable skills as a programmer and synth
head. The real thing that makes this all stand out, though, is his deeply
soulful vocals that lend an emotional depth to the proceedings. Whether the
hard funk of “Guardalo,” the Afrobeat shuffle of “Mentirosos” or the electro-soul
swoon of “Harmonia,” Mann always brings the soul. Check it: it’s gold.
DOWNLOAD: “Harmonia,” “Mentirosos,”
“Guardalo (El Silenco),” “Anima” CARL HANNI