Over the past decade, the strict boundaries of musical genres, largely put forth by profit hungry corporate music companies for easy radio play and consumer consumption, have begun to crumble. The Internet and advanced production techniques have contributed greatly to this musical revolution. Artists now regularly defy easy categorization, drawing freely from a variety of sources and utilizing a wide range of instruments and computer-enhanced sounds.
The self-titled debut album from Supreme Beings of Leisure personifies this trend. It is a largely successful, if derivative, melange of cultural and musical styles as diverse as the group’s ethnic heritage—which includes Japan, India, Iran, Puerto Rico, Ireland and the Dominican Republic. Techno beats, scratches, sitar, cosmically manipulated vocals, strings and various other electronica swirl and dip and swoon through this sonic landscape. The listener can discern a heavy dose of Portishead, a dash of Madonna’s “Ray of Light,” a pinch of Morcheeba, a smidgen of John Barry-inspired spy music, a touch of Cornershop, and the precision production of a Steely Dan record. Shaped and caressed by the capable hands of SBL’s production and programming crew, these elements meld together to make a thoroughly groovable record. It’s trancy, it’s trippy, it’s soulful and funky all at once.
Geri Soriano-Lightwood’s seductive vocals keep the project grounded, particularly on stand-out tracks like “Never the Same,” “Last Girl On Earth,” and “What’s the Deal.” Other cuts, particularly “Ain’t Got Nothin’” and “Sublime,” stand more solidly in the drum’n'bass tradition. Perhaps the most accessible and club-friendly track on the CD is “Strangelove Addiction,” an up-tempo number with a propulsive Eastern-inspired melody. Global, technologically adept music has arrived. Here it is.