Monday, July 13, 2009

Album Review: Chico Mann-Analog Drift (Muy Esniqui)

Just when you thought it was safe to put down the casio, Analog Drift (Muy Esniqui), the new full-length album from Chico Mann out July 2009 on Furious Panther Records, is now available online at

Chico Mann started as Marcos Garcia of Antibalas' side project, experimenting with some break records and a casio resulting in the debut album Manifest Tone Vol. 1 in 2007. Chico has grown by leaps and bounds both in the studio and on the stage since then, a progression immediately evident on Analog Drift (Muy Esniqui).

Chico Mann is one of the most unique ensembles you'll ever see on any stage. The combination of elements and influences foster a very unique mix including spanish lyrics, funky afrobeat guitar lines, casio keyboard percussion breaks, and synthed out bass lines. Combining turntables, casio keyboards, live multi-layered vocals and percussion, they have an old-school yet simultaneously futuristic sound.

Analog Drift (Muy Esniqui) is an evolved album with diversity from track to track. Some tracks are deeper down tempo cuts like Go To That Place which contrast with harder-hitting upbeat cuts like Guárdalo (El Silencio) and Ya Yo Sé. The genius of Marcos Garcia's (and therefore Chico Mann's) sensibility is their appreciation of things both new and old-school and their ability to marry the two worlds so seamlessly. The instrumentation and presentation allude to a strong old-school flavor yet the production quality and overall sound have a modern sensibility and refinement.

Although most of the song lyrics are en espanol, that definitely shouldn't keep you from singing along. If you're completely inept at interpreting international sounds, certain songs are in English including a cover of The Talking Heads-Once In a Lifetime. Chico Mann is one of the most innovative ensembles on the ny scene these days, and they especially bring it live. Check them out at Southpaw on July 23rd with Planet Rump, The Superpowers, and DJ Dhundee...

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