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Systema Solar: Systema Solar *

Album Notes

It's a party in a CD case. Systema Solar collective is a mix of mixers, turntablists, rappers, and more from Colombia's Caribbean coast. There's plenty of cumbia in what they do, but also ample hip-hop, several Latin styles, and the beats pushed up high. Inspired by the big sound systems they set up and play, it can range from the wild celebration of "El Mujagal" to the Latin R&B of "En los Huesos." But the latter provides breathing space as they crank up the beats and the intensity. There are some lows, but then some highs, as in "Oye" leading to "Malaplpitando," where it all builds out of dub, the Afro-Colombian percussion; it's a fascinating, sweaty workout that displays the roots of the area perfectly. The roots feel grows as the album progresses, which is no bad thing, but those 303s still squelch here and here. The mixing is excellent, the verbena spirit total, leaving the listener smiling and feeling like they've been at the best party in the world. ~ Chris Nickson


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