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Ocote Soul Sounds & Adrian Quesada: El Ni

Ernest Barteldes By

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In this welcome pseudo-soundtrack, Latin percussion and woodwinds meet electronica, conventional instruments and other sounds to create a unique mix that explores various moods. In one instance, you have '70s-inspired funk with a salsa-ish backbeat that lends itself to a lot of improvised moments on saxophone and flute. In another, you have a dreamy ambient soundscape that leads you to a completely different place. In between, you have a saxophone freely traveling through a semi-psychedelic background formed by guitar, bass, B-3 and percussion. Also, you have very short interludes that serve sometimes as introductions or simply a break between tunes.

Take for instance "Divinorum," a four-minute '70s-influenced song that follows "Esto No Se Acaba Aqui" ("This Doesn't End Here"), a short moment that features various extraneous sounds and ends with an echo-drenched title phrase reminiscent of a Sgt. Pepper's outtake. Pay attention to "Vals de La Despedida" ("The Goodbye Waltz"), a brief but sweet acoustic tune redolent of street performers in Latin America. Listen also to "La Lucha Sigue" ("The Struggle Goes On"), a New Age-like tune that features an electronic background, various sound effects, vibes and a wandering flute throughout.

The keyboard and guitar-rich "Greñudos," however, has a more contemporary feel, akin to what Brazil's Cesar Camargo Mariano was experimenting with about fifteen years ago. One of the best tracks in the album is "Paz Y Alegria" ("Peace and Happiness"), an Andina-flavored tune that features acoustic guitar, tres and bass in the background, over which various wood sounds solo against each other. There is, however, no overpowering, so the flutes have a choir-like sound that create a dreamy mood for the listener.

El Niño Y El Sol (The Boy and The Sun) is an album that deserves a wider audience. Too bad there is no actual film to go with it.

Track Listing: Tamarindio; Dedication T.V.; Esto No Se Acaba Aqui; Divinorum; Ora Como Rey, Mañana Como G

Title: El Ni | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Eighteenth Street Lounge Music

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