We’ve never been to a Colombian carnival but we’re very interested in Palenke Soultribe’s interpretation of the festivals, which they say is their ultimate musical goal. Soultribe’s latest album, Oro, uses electronica to re-create the sound of their homeland, Colombia. The results are electronically produced tropical and afro Colombian rhythms in progressive, break beat, techno and ambient flavors, with plenty of live instrumentation.
Los Angeles-based artists and Colombian expats Juan Diego Bordo, aka Insectosound, Andres “Popa” Erazo, and Andres F. Zuluaga, aka Zulu, are the heart of Soultribe, and have been creating music together since 2005. The group collaborates with plenty of notable Latino artists for Oro: Kinky’s Cesar Pliego, Latin Alternative Grammy nominees Locos Por Juana, Sr. Mendez, and Texas’ own Mr. Vallenato also appear on the album.
Oro is the first in a series of three planned albums by Soultribe, each associated with a color of the Colombian flag and conceived as pop, chill out, or dance albums respectively, though Oro certainly contains all of these elements. Produced more for the average listener than the dj or electronic dance music fan per se, Oro still delivers beautifully textured and danceable tracks. “No Voy a Morir” opens the album with a combination of live and electronic drums complemented by chanting vocals by Maria Karolys and Natasha Perez. “It’s Not Your Fault” maintains a rock vibe and “Africa-ca-ca-ca” edits reminiscent of classic tribal electronica while poppy “Choroni,” ‘Corazon Bonito,” “Te Veo,” and “Celosa” follow with a traditional Latin dance sound that may be more familiar to Colombian ears. “Popular Music” introduces euphoric tones that lead from Montana Jose’s remix of “No Voy A Morir” to Bianali’s remix of “Choroni.” This remix closes the album with nine minutes and change of a gorgeous, atmospheric groove that may hint at the production Soultribe will deliver with Mar, the next in their three-album series. After Mar, Palenke Soultribe plans to produce Sangre, a more dance-oriented album to complete the set of three.