SOL AZUL with SOUTHBOUND 2 , MEDICINE MAN , MARCUS VISIONARY , GERALD BELANGER at Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas West), tonight (August 11). $10. 416-588-0307.
Sometimes the best creative moments happen when the pressure's off.
In Sol Azul's case, the local Latin electronic fusion crew connected and struck gold by accident. During a late-night session in 2001, producer/bass player D'Arcy McGuire was working on a Latin house joint with guitarist Juan Dino Toledo while hanging out with pals Marcus Sills and Dave Whalen (together known as drum 'n' bass duo Visionary). Sills and Whalen suggested knocking off a d 'n' b version of the tune.
Turns out that late-night experiment started generating excitement - even though McGuire and Toledo weren't d 'n' b fans.
"Usually you have to fight a lot harder to get people to care about the music you're making, so when the apple falls in your lap, you don't throw it away," says McGuire. "People were interested in it, and I know enough to go with that. We made up the name for the band in about two minutes."
The success of that first experiment (Sola Bossa) motivated them to record an entire album. The basic band is McGuire, Toledo and singer/songwriter Rubi, with the Visionary crew providing drum 'n' bass remixes and an army of guest musicians helping out with their sunny, lush electronic reworking of Latin and Brazilian motifs.
Although McGuire claims that little of the album was recorded with all the musicians in the same building at the same time, there's something very live and organic about the songs, despite the clattering drum machines. Due to the large number of guest musicians, reworking the album for live gigs could be a nightmare. But McGuire's not worried. He's had good experiences at all the performances so far, including a handful of raves and a well-received gig at an awards show for Web developers (!).
"For the most part, everyone who played on the album is going to be coming out for the show," he says, "- well, with the exception of the trumpet player, Cathy Craig, who I have no idea how to find.
"Everything but the beats will be live. We're not bringing a drummer out yet, since the beats are computer-generated, and I don't want to have him onstage playing just a little hi-hat here and there."