Music Reviews
Chico Mann

Chico Mann

Analog Drift

Wax Poetics Records

I like this guy. He sounds like he should be mixing for some huge festival on a sweaty Caribbean island just before a major hurricane attacks.

“This Love” takes a rock-steady electronic beat and decorates it with modified vocals, eclectic chimes, and digital marimbas; the vocal is played more as a rhythm instrument than a story or lament. “HarmonÃa” uses vocals more traditionally. They are sung in slangy Spanish and I sort of wish I’d paid attention in high school. There seems to be something going on under the building, yet with hip-swaying backing electronics. Dark, moody beats infuse “Anima.” It’s solely a dance number with gut-moving bass and flittery notes high up in an unsingable register. As the analog drifts along, we go darker and darker into the dance, motion is the main and perhaps only motivation to keep us dancing, world events and poverty and even sex fall away until we’re in the groove on “Guárdalo (El Silencio).” Lyrics call, but there’s no response, it’s time to let the DJ do his thing while you do yours, and these are coupled only by that quantum of coherence of you both existing in the same space. The Talking Heads drift by for “Once in a Lifetime,” you’re in dream time, and it’s only an MTV race memory of an age long gone. The crowd tires and the set must end eventually, “Ya Yo Sé” and “Illusión de Ti” are actually peppier, but their happiness pulls us out of the trance and into the light, leaving only a small deception on my part: “This Love” is the closing track.

You can start the cycle again whenever and wherever you wish.

Chico Mann:

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