Review: Abelardo Carbono must be one of Colombia's most legendary artists, particularly for championing the sound of "champeta", a guitar-led style that has come to represent the South American country and its music. The Names You Can Trust imprint comes through with a glorious one-tracker by Carbono himself, alongside his 'Grupo' and, unsurprisingly, the masterful modern production of Quantic. "La Pina Madura" is a beast of a track, all built with percussive glory and the fiery South American zest that is made all the more effective by Quantic's post-production work. Slightly off-kilter and irregular in its shapes, this is undoubtedly a single that you will want to bust out this summer. Blazing hot!
Review: Aillacara 2743 is a Chilean-French multi-instrumentalist, not to mention one of the hottest turntablists out there at the moment and "Cumbia Yerba Buena" is his ode to South American music. Starting from its dusty drum work which just sweeps its way through the whole track, it then gives us some off-the-wall melodics via his many different instruments. "Cumbia Chacarera" is bumpier and more broken up than the first but for what it lacks in linearity, it certainly makes up for with some of the most interesting drum arrangements we've heard this year - TIP!
Review: Bullerengue is a tradition that originated in the Caribbean region of Colombia. It is through the drums, chants, and dances that knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation. It is also a lifestyle: a way to celebrate festivities and the African legacy in Colombia. Bulla en el Barrio was born in New York City as a way to continue a learning process that started back in Baranquilla, Colombia. It culminated with the arrival of lead singer Carolina Oliveros to the city in 2013, and her connection with a tight-knit group of local Colombian musicians. They began to fill parks and other public places with the sounds of their home country to a small audience. The tradition of El Bullrengue is at the core of Bulla's process, and in the case of these recordings, you will hear two examples ("Fandango"/"Chalupa") of the three different rhythmic structures that make up the sound. From the beginning of Bulla, the group has since transformed into a community of over 12 active members who all share a strong sense of connection to their roots - and a consciousness of their ancestors.
Review: The third in a series of releases from the Names You Can Trust label that seeks to update cumbia for modern listeners - this time helmed by Argentinean producer Doctor Stereo. Keeping things rootsy and live-sounding, the good Doctor puts a Latin piano out front over an itchy modern take on that distinctive cumbia rhythm, done this time in a more sequenced, electroid way. Tahira's Afro-Cumbia mix makes greater use of that infectious rhythm, almost resembling a slowed-down techno beat with added funk guitars and bass floating through the mix. A great idea that's nicely rendered over these two tracks.
Review: Having recently collaborated with Brit producer Quantic, and before that Mad Professor, Colombian cumbia and roots troupe Frente Cumbiero merge raw, funky psychedelia with Balkan riffage on the excellently madcap "Unconvention". Add to that the even more out-there Moog vs alto sax drama of the riotous "Ika" and you have an extremely unusual yet adorable pair of tunes indeed.
Review: Comprising Monk One and E's E, GRC are back with their second excursion into Latin breaks with these two new tracks. "Puerto Rico" adds some sublime beats to a brass-filled Merengue heater, with some really sophisticated reverb touches on the sampled drums, while "Colombia" repeats the pattern, adding thumping kicks to a cha-cha 'n' accordion backing. Fun South American beats for any occasion.
Review: La Mecanica Popular is the sound that is coming out of the more traditional house and techno equation, filtering through on our charts with a tropical edge that merges just about all the facets of world-dance music possible! Peruvian, Colombian, Cuban, and North American influences are blended up and served to you on a platter, via the currently unstoppable Names You Can Trust label. There are six parts here, all of them showcasing something to do with the carnival atmosphere, at times speeding up into high-tech percussion or otherwise offering moody, seductive waves of pseudo-balearica. In a nutshell, this is the very best of what contemporary world-dance has to offer. 10/10.
Review: Names You Can Trust's recent interest in all things Hispanic has proved particularly fruitful, and has possibly reached its peak with the self-proclaimed 'psychedelic salsa' collective, La Mencanica Popular. Their trippy sound is entrenched in 1970s salsa dura, but more otherworldly; "Paz Del Freak' sounds like a crazy 1960s Mexican film soundtrack, recorded at an open air cinema whilst aliens are overheard listening in, while "Guajiro" on the other hand is a spacey salsa semi-instrumental drowned in radio interference and feedback.
Review: LascaMao are an eight-man strong Brazilian ensemble that can boast to having legendary percussionist Robertinho Silva amongst their ranks. This two-track single features the heavy Afro-Latin drum freakout "Rufar Dos Tamborins" and the dense jungle chants of "Caminho De Minas". More quality stuff from Names You Can Trust!
Review: Two delicious freeform rhythm jams from the heart of Bogota; Los Propios Bateros (AKA drummer and percussionist Pedro Ojeda) is the result of a deep documentary project that plots the rhythmic thread through the Americas as a cast of Columbian's next generation musicians explore the national legacy of descraga and pornpo across two warm and seductive improvisations; "Batazo Batero" swoons with a little light jazz in its step while "Bolillo, Baqueta Y Tombo" is more of a loose funk riff that writhes in and out of the tight staccato trumpet riff. Sublime as always from Names You Can Trust.
Sostengan Al Ángel (instrumental) - (4:09) 123 BPM
Review: In these times of austerity and dwindling returns, it's always exciting to find a record label that's willing to take risks and mix it up a little. Names You Can Trust is fast becoming one of those labels. After previously impressing with reggae disco, funk, Afrobeat and instrumental hip-hop, here they turn their attention to the world of wonky Latino beats. Both "Escuchen El Grito" and "Sostengan Al Angel" sound like they were played, recorded and produced on a boat moored somewhere off the coast of Mexico. That's no criticism, mind; the looseness of the beats, keys and guitars gives both tracks a genuinely unique feel. Delightfully wobbly.