Washington, DC’s Sol Power All-Stars have long been local favorites as a result of their melange of global soulful grooves. After gaining some acclaim with two cheeky edit EPs on GAMM and BSTRD Boots (Bastard Jazz’s edit-leaning offshoot) some years back, the All-Stars decided to start their own label. Thus, Sol Power Sound was born, carrying over the african and latin influences of the group into a neat platform for both sample-based and originally produced house music. The label kicked things off with the super nifty Plaza Bolivar EP from the All-Stars themselves, before releasing two mighty EPs from Tom from Brookyln and Obas Nenor. Last year’s self-produced Djidjo Vide 12″ was, however, the last we’d seen from the imprint in a minute. Thankfully, here to break the hiatus and slot in as the imprint’s fifth release is Aroop Roy‘s Rising Tides.
Aroop, who himself contributed some class edits and reworks to the likes of GAMM and Basic Fingers earlier in his discography, has recently caught fire; dropping a very well received 12″ under his own label brand, Kampana Classics as well as a much-applauded EP on House of Disco. For Rising Tides, the London producer continues the aesthetic of his HoD release (Talkin’ Bout Life), seamlessly integrating instrumentation and sampling in a tasty global house format. Oh, and it’s been mastered by the impeccable Atjazz, so this one sounding fresh is likely a foregone conclusion. Let’s take a listen, then.
Occupying the A-Side is our premiere, the vocal mix of « Tembandumba ». The cut is of course a re-imagination of Afro-Colombian vocalist Totó la Momposina‘s chant-laden classic, and a fully-licensed one at that! It opens in dramatic fashion, with vocals and flourishing percussion setting the table. Once the beat comes in, Aroop’s knack for the rework becomes truly apparent. Perfectly tuned drums make the tune ride along, while a variety of layered synths blend nicely with the vocal chops of the original. « Tembandumba » is an eight minute long epic that employs a beautiful escalation of mood, perhaps functioning nicely as an opener of sorts due to the aforementioned introduction section of the track.
On the flip side is the bittersweet « Abale » featuring Malawian singer Gasper Nali, as well as the club mix of « Tembandumba ». The latter serves to repurpose the track for peak-time play; editing the intro to facilitate blending this jam right in. It’s a balanced 12″ that succeeds in blending African and Latin stylings with hardware for an extremely modern global house vibe.
Rising Tides hits stores in on June 23rd and is up and listed for orders on Juno.