Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Review-This is the first new release by Great Britain's Soul Jazz label — widely known for its dynamite reissues of everything from killer Nuyorican soul to New Orleans funk to funky and militant jazz — in years. This debut album by a New York-based house artist comes as a surprise. But it's a welcome one. Osunlade drenches his house in Brazilian, funk, and Latin colors, blending it all into a thoroughly modern dancefloor music that is as compelling to the ears as it is motivating to the booty. The singles from the set include "Blackman," a poetic move toward jazzy house with sampled chords from Bobby Konders' "The Poem." It's a late-night groove, laid-back but insistent, with a rap about Osunlade's upbringing and his spiritual beliefs. It's a kind of housed-out manifesto of positive Afrocentrism. Also notable is the traditional Brazilian tune "Oxissi de Focha Branca," with its drum chants and a call and response rhythm that retains its field recording primitivism long after the house beats kick in. The set closes with "The Deep," a driving house rhythm set against a rolling, one-note bassline interspersed with a two-chord, three-sequence vamp kissed by a harmonica sample in the groove. The harmonica is the lead "melodic" instrument (it's a Charlie Musselwhite sample), though it's just riffing in the cut and carrying the track through its intervals. This is an auspicious debut by a young cat who has brought something new and very different to the world from the house scene in New York.