Novalima – Planetario (2015)

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Planetario may be Novalima’s most accessible release to date, but that hardly means the Afro-Peruvian group doesn’t still pack quite a wallop with its infectious grooves, driving backbeat and innovative production.

Built on the diverse musical backgrounds of founders Ramon Perez-Prieto, Grimaldo Del Solar, Rafael Morales, and Carlos Li Carrillo, Novalima has continued to exhibit musical growth since the release of their 2002 self-titled debut. Novalima’s most recent release, 2013’s Karimba Diabolic Remixes via Brooklyn’s Wonderwheel Recordings, hand selected some of their favorite remixers (including Seiji (UK), Da Lata (UK), Jeremy Sole (US), DJ Smash (US), DJ Sabo (US), Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza, Nickodemus and others) to re-interpret the band’s 2012 album Karimba.

Planetario incorporates the spirit of that remix album with the rhythmic tension of the high energy Novalima show. As a result, Planetario is a Novalima album not to be missed.

“Como Yo,” the debut single from Planetario (Wonderwheel Recordings), brings in many of the expected Novalima dance elements while paying a moving tribute to their late bandmate Mangue Vasquez. “Tinkalamina” is built from a solid rhythmic background before their singer provides a chant-like lead that is enhanced by the sonic bedrock of backing vocalist. The song is haunting, stirring and inspiring.

“Memekume” changes the rhythm and furthers the mood with a twangy guitar lead over an electronic and acoustic percussion track. The song is a fine, slow burn that mixes Latin and African influences in a potent stew. Do I understand the lyrics? No, but given the forceful yet sensual vocal delivery, the hard-hitting beats, and the nuanced keyboards and electronic beats, it doesn’t matter.

“Mi Canto” shifts thing to a higher gear, going with a more aggressive backbeat that’s punctuated by a male vocals in Spanish. To call this music dance music is selling it short, but if you want to dance, go right ahead.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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