It may be too early for best-of-the-year nominations, but the Prime Element 's Alborada album, the debut release in the Kindered Spirit label's promising new Free Spirit series, is a definite front-runner. Recorded by Argentinian composer/conductor Carlos Franzetti soon after arriving in New York in 1974 - years before he became known for scoring films like the Mambo Kings, Beat Street and Misunderstood, and collaborating with symphony orchestras from Buffalo to Buenos Aires - Alborada is a heady string-enhanced spin on spiritual jazz with magnificent modal moves and hot Latin grooves featuring the flutastic Mauricio Smith and conga king Ray Mantilla . It's like the best Strata East session you've never heard. Turntable-equipped DJs should note that the amazing Alborada is available on club-ready vinyl.
With so many producers swearing off house and even more tired of trying to remake disco and electro tracks, you're bound to find some talented studio technicians applying their skills to hiphop. Anyone who doubts zerodB 's ability to put together the required rough beats for a serious head-nodder needs to flip over the white-label 12-inch of Bongos, Bleeps & Basslines and check out MC Pase Rock spitting fire on the politically pointed Know What I'm Sayin'. Better buy two copies, because a year from now, everyone you know who only listens to Kanye and Common is going to want this shit bad.
The right Touch
Mixtape maestro Tony Touch has been accused of many things over the years, but loading up his discs with too many amazing exclusive tracks isn't one of them. Yet his latest release, Mic Destruction, boasts a props-worthy innovation - it's a mixtape mixtape! Why bother digging for overlooked indie joints for your disc when you can simply lift the best tracks off other people's mixtapes? So you passed on Talib Kweli 's weak Right About Now disc? Well, our man Tony salvages the best cut, Kweli's collabo with MF Doom on Fly That Knot. And if you missed Little Brother 's Chitlin Circuit tour mix, no problem. Touch swiped their Welcome To Durham throwdown with Big Daddy Kane for Mic Destruction. Ghostface Killah 's Man Up comes from his Put It On The Line disc, ODB 's High In The Clouds and Stand Up previously appeared on the Osirus Mix, etc. It's all good stuff, just a little familiar. Convincing proof that laziness is the baby mama of invention.
Anyone who checked out the first volume of Andergraun Vibrations (Hundergrum) will tell you that Spain was crawling with weird and wonderful small-label heavy rock recordings during the early 70s. And if you thought that stunning comp was the last word on the subject, well, the second volume presents even more ludicrously dope psych and garage pounders from limited-run sevens by the likes of Ciclón , Skorpis , Chirino , Katunga and Piñonate . I'm particularly partial to the Albert Band 's funky Ella Tiene El Cabello Rubio, but I have to give it up to Franklin for the trippiest version of the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction ever waxed by humans.