Soul Sounds’ prime-movers are Adrian Quesada of the 2010 Grammy Award winning
Latin combo Grupo Fantasma (and their spin-off Brownout), and Martin Perna of
the NY-based Afrobeat collective Antibalas. In other words, between the two of
them they already helm two of the most exciting bands currently filling up
thinking people’s dance-floors around the world.
Taurus, their new, fourth release as Ocote Soul Sounds, they add a
significant other heavy hitter into the mix: Eric Hilton of the highly esteemed
global groove pioneers Thievery Corporation, who acts as the primary producer.
Hilton is a savvy choice, given Thievery Corporations’ penchant for supremely
tasteful, understated grooves. Ocote Soul Sounds mandate has always been
significantly different from Quesada and Perna’s other acts: they mine a
slower, more languid/down tempo groove, with occasional forays into experimental
ambient territory. But it’s always been living, breathing ambient, not
wall-paper music, and they shy away from it completely on Taurus for
twelve beautifully constructed, mid and down-tempo originals.
opening number, “Primavera,” perfectly encapsulates Ocote Soul Sounds’
continent-hopping fusion, blending Afrobeat styled guitar, organ and percussion
to a groove that slides back and forth between Africa and pan-Latin America. They
keep working that mid- and down-tempo groove for eleven more songs, raising and
lowering the funk factor, mixing vocal (in Spanish and English) and
instrumental numbers, adding and subtracting guest vocalists or taking the
leads themselves. Like Perna and Quesada’s other acts, Ocote Soul Sounds has a
highly evolved sociopolitical point of view they project in their music,
evidenced by song-titles like “STTP (Speak Truth to Power”) and “Guantanamo.”
But on most numbers they really just want to get a rich, sexy groove on, and
“Pirata,” “Augua Santa,” “Cumbia la Magdalena”
and others offer some of the most perfectly syncopated, creamy grooves you’ll
hear anytime in 2011. For engaging brain and body alike, Taurus will be
hard to top this summer.
DOWNLOAD: “Pirata,” “Pathways,”
“Agua Santa,” “STTP,” “Primavera.” CARL HANNI