Yet another mixed up German techno record. Hannover DJs Ralf Droesemeyer and Mark "Foh" Wetzler are the two halves of Mo' Horizons, which debuted on record in 1999. In the intervening years they have put out a heap of vinyl, including two full length records. Their third effort, ...and the New Bohemian Freedom,
is aptly titled: it represents an hour-long psychedelic tour of Rio, New Orleans, San Juan, Berlin, New York, and Delhi. If you need to slap a label on the music, you'd probably call it downtempo, lounge, electro, or something like that. But quit all the name-calling!
The opening "Como e o ar" sets the tone right away, a gently strummed guitar vamp accompanying Brazilian vocalist Yorio da Costa through a melodic lead and repeated scatting riffs. Echoes of samba penetrate through the tune's light, peppery rhythms, detailed percussion, and soaring lyricsbut as female soul vocals and a funky '70s keyboard jam poke through here and there, you get the sense of a low-level Afro-Brazilian-American summit. Don't go looking for instrumental variation: that guitar riff fades in and out of equally soft keyboard sounds, changing not one iota (except when parts drop out during funky breaks). This is feel- good dance music, not the nerdy brain-tickling variety.
Full-on salsa horns pulse over a weird boogaloo-tinted jam two tracks later, congas and programmed drums emphasizing a straight four beat. A voice out of the din declares: "I'm a boogaloo!" No doubt. Pass the pipe, babe. I want some of what you're smoking. Radio Cuba trickles through on "Radio Sol," with horn fanfares and conga counter-rhythms cha cha cha-ing giddily along. The drums don't quite achieve the desired effecttoo square and not deep enough, aiming too hard for texture and not enough for soulbut no matter, you get the point as Carmen Zapata demands, "Dance with me!"
The Euro club scene colors every track, pulling these jams over the boundary from the couch to the floor, rapid-echo synth cascades and evenly-spaced beats inserted to help out the rhythm-impaired. Sure, the music sounds synthetic, despite its dramatic global outreach. It's far more polyester than cotton, that's for certain. But take it at face value (and approach it in the right state of mind), and there's something charming about the New Bohemian Freedom.
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Personnel: Ralf Droesemeyer and Mark "Foh" Wetzler: Keyboards, Programming; Lutz Krajenski: Organ, Piano; Marc
Amadeus Figge: Percussion, Saxophone. Vocals: Carmen Zapata (Venezuela); Denise M' Baye
(Senegal/Germany); Jade (England); Yorio da Costa (Brazil); Jose Lopez (Spain/Morocco).