It's 1221

cd review: bomba estereo: blow up
21 September, 2009, 12:38 PM
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Reviewed on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 by Areti Sakellaris
Published on
Nacional Records
4 Stars

Bomba Estéreo is a funky underground talent revealing a genre-busting, linguistics-defying release with Blow Up. The Colombian group rolls out an original mix of electronica, dub, hip-hop, champeta and cumbia for the Nacional label, which has been recently garnering extra attention for their pan-Latino sound.

Lead vocalist Liliana Saumet’s wildly playful lyrics explode when in contact with Simon Mejia’s guitar and synths. Saumet’s sultry style is a hybridization of Nelly Furtado with the precision and attitude of M.I.A. “Fuego introduced the world to Bomba’s Technicolor world. “La Nina Rica is as mind-blowing as it is steamy. Dedicated to the “people dancing in the street” is the anthemic party track “Feelin,”” which weaves English and Spanish with Diego Cadavid’s percussion and Kike Egurrola’s drums. “Raza wraps the album and includes a shout-out to Saumet’s hometown of Santa Marta. This is a group comfortable with their heritage and eager to share it with fans the world over.

Mejia started in 2005 and released an album of instrumental work, and hooking up with Saumet brought out the fire and organic influences of Colombia’s colorful coast and musical traditions. Together, they produced an inclusive record, managing to get the non-Spanish speakers in the crowd up on their feet.

With Saumet’s thrilling voice, Mejia’s brilliant feel for the music, and their wanton exuberance, keep a jug of water handy.


cd review: dubfire + loco dice: ten years cocoon ibiza: in the mix
21 September, 2009, 12:30 PM
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Reviewed on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 by Areti Sakellaris
Published on
Cocoon Recordings
4 Stars

As half of superstar house duo Deep Dish, Dubfire has earned rapturous reviews for decades. Yet more than a few were shocked when he recently embedded himself into Richie Hawtin’s camp of ultra minimalists, while his DD partner Sharam continued down the path of least megaclub resistance. But any accusations of dilettantism will be put to rest with the release of this compilation for Sven Vath’s Coccon club with Loco Dice, celebrating the clubs 10th year in Ibiza and it’s ascension to megaclub dominance of it’s own.

Grammy winner that he is, Dubfire, wastes no time bringing in the heavy hitters and begins his set, if you will, with Basic Channel and Mr. Bizz on “Mutism + Eternity” and “Keep Focused” by Fritz Zander amps the mix into a dance craze. Close on its last notes is “Vision” which is amongst my top picks because I love the effect on the vocals; it sounds right out of a horror movie from light years into the future. Showing props to mix partner Loco Dice, Dubfire uses his remix of Tiga’s “Beep Beep,” a standout track in its own right. “Conga Da Tierre” feels dark and smoky with its electric chords before easing into “Function”—are those lasers? Sounds like it.

In his own auspicious and genre-defying career, Loco Dice always brought the hip-hop flavor, and those undertones connect his funky mix. “Carnivores” feels like a mysterious trek through the Arabian Nights, guided by a pulsating bass line. This album played tricks with my ears, and it took me a few listens to figure out album exclusive “Jadajada/Wallshaker” because it covers so much ground that it sounds like a few songs crammed into one. From there, Loco Dice seamlessly segues into “Black Mamba,” and the effect grounds you into the heart of his club scene.

Upon further consideration, that is where the beauty lies in this compilation. It is all about getting the right flow, and by the time “Unsound” rolls around, the digitized vocals sound so closely to an effect layered over an instrument that I think the whole point is for music to be the language and transform words themselves into something else—stripping away all the applied meanings and bringing them back to the sounds. Who knows?

It is as if what makes Dubfire and Loco Dice both excellent DJs is that they make it seem so easy and natural. The word is “technique,” but In the Mix is a blissed-out, grandiose compilation beyond the need for words.

cd review: moritz von oswald trio: vertical ascent
21 September, 2009, 12:24 PM
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Reviewed on Saturday, July 25, 2009 by Areti Sakellaris
Published on
Honest Jon’s Recordings
4.5 Stars

The debut from the Moritz Von Oswald Trio, Vertical Ascent, doesn’t play any games with listeners. No funky lasers or Auto-tuned lyrics to hold onto. For longtime fans of electronic, dub, and techno, you’re acclimated to the fundamental structure; however, for those brave newbies, Ascent may seem underwhelming. Or overwhelming for those trying to grasp it. First I thought, Oh, I’ll have to really listen to this album because it doesn’t get in my head. Instead, I will have to get inside of it and explore this musical landscape on my own. Gulp. This album sounds like falling into the abyss.

And that is meant as a massive compliment. I could weave a framework, and as different sounds and emotions caught my ear, I could add to it. It summoned my creativity, and I found a depth to these epic tracks (the first cut is 14 solid minutes of pure ambient electronic) that the cute three-minute ditty hardly captures. Inspiring. There are no unexpected moments of intense flashiness, cacophonous reverb, or lyrics; it is experimental and minimal. However, Ascent is not an intimidating record necessitating a PhD in something fancy to enjoy and appreciate it.

Imagine a derelict warehouse by the docks, the music is lost in time—stark and futuristic—and a highly respected techno pioneer beyond introductions, Moritz von Oswald, orchestrating the synthesizers and samplers. Max Louderbauer is responsible for the analog synthesizers and Vladislav Delay (aka Sasu Ripatti) is on drums and percussion.

This isn’t a record for the impatient; the lethargic tracks take their time to develop, and for the huge space the trio creates, they fill the atmosphere with intimacy and allure, seamlessly progressing from one movement to the next.

Von Oswald said at an interview that he likes to use a limited number of elements and repetition for his music, which certainly does not make this a boring or heartless record. Quite the contrary, Ascent is an electronic symphony thoroughly alive and existing in its own vortex continuum.