Las Palmas Collectives
Vuja De / :run
Much in the tradition of Ubiquity’s New Latinaires series comes Vuja De’s Las Palmas Collectives. Mixing house with Afro-Cuban/Brazilian percussive flavors, here’s a mix CD that is really intriguing and a genuine attempt to further expand the parameters of dance music. Of course, this admixture is nothing new (as the Mathusala-long career of MAW can attest to); however, the sound remains fresh and enlivens the crowd.
I think the fascination the dance world has with the percussion is that it injects a “live” feel to an otherwise mechanized musical form. The programmed chug-chug-chug beat of house can only get you so far — not only as a dancer, but especially as an artist. As a result, I think there comes an almost jazzy feel to the whole subgenre, replete with vibe solos (Jesse “Outlaw”‘s “Samba Angel”), piano flourishes (DJ Aztec Sol’s “Crudo”), and serious percussive savagery (East’s own “Caylen”).
The disc starts off with the brilliant “Dreams Of Eurydice” by Sanint, Draggo, and Monkey Bone, with its pervasive bass, Brazilian chants, punchy synths, and nice solos that really move you. Then, it feels like the jazzy grooves won’t stop until it chug-chug-chugs into something a little more stereotypical around the sixth song, Saint’s “Tres Palmas.” Still, this song’s banging enough to just make you take notice that a change may be in the air. A peculiar thing does happen: East decides to feature Outlaw on the next four tracks which degenerate further into the typical with each track. It’s still good stuff — just lacking the brilliance of the previous songs. However, East eventually redeems himself and the disc with the last song, a seductive samba house cut by Yuka Matsuda also called “Samba Angel.” This has to be the best cut of the mix.