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Ocote Soul Sounds + Adrian Quesada

The Alchemist Manifesto

(ESL; US: 10 Jun 2008; UK: 9 Jun 2008)

Cut from the same cloth as Fela Kuti and the psychedelic sounds of West Africa in early ‘70s, the sophomore album from Martin Perna (original member of the Dap Kings and Antibalas) and Grupo Fantasma’s Adrian Quesada is literally Afrobeat funk gold. Throughout The Alchemist Manifesto, a wide selection of strings, horns, vintage keyboards, and percussive sounds enrich the many flutes of Perna and the can’t-keep-it-down funk guitar prowess of Quesada to a point of being indistinguishable from the legendary forces that influenced the album into existence. Both Ocote Soul Sounds and Quesada are accomplished multi-instrumentalists, and the guest appearances on these jams constitutes a list that stretches a mile long. This results in a vibrant work in line with a dirtier Herbaliser that sounds as if it was all cut live off the floor, while still being glossed with a kind of frozen analog hum that lends more credence to the record’s early ‘70s soundtrack feel. For my money, The Alchemist Manifesto single-handedly outdoes the entire catalogue of Antibalas and Grupo Fantasma.

Rating:

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.


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Ocote Soul Sounds ACL Interview (2007)
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