The men that form Ocote Soul Sounds must be air and earth signs because those two together form the smooth waters of music on their new album, Taurus, that I want to drink up, enjoy, and share with my friends. Adrian Quesada and Martin Perna have created an album of strength and peace, jazz and soul, and a whole lot of funky Latin rhythms. Mixing funk with folk, cha-cha and salsa is a risky move for anyone, but Ocote Soul Sounds and Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation have seamlessly merged the two in a manner that is extremely groovy. Drawing inspiration from the Age of Aquarius and the power of Taurus, the album is appropriately titled to fit the vibe. Afro-beats, funky bass riffs, and organs piping joyously transform what could be heard as Latin chill to Latin groove.
The album begins with “Primavera,” an instrumental song that blossoms out of your speakers and makes the excruciating summer heat a bit more tolerable. A few songs later, the vocals pick up and beckon you to stay and listen a little longer. They say “dame la mano” and I applaud zealously. The rest of the album weaves in and out of instrumental and lyrical songs that take you on a journey through lands of cumbia, cha-cha, and Italian Folk. I thoroughly enjoyed the album regardless of one song that brought me near the limits of my appreciation for political lyrics. But hey, what’s funk without a statement?
Taurus will keep you grooving all summer long and you can probably play it over and over again without getting tired of it. Lovers of Latin music, funk, jazz and dub will all find something to enjoy. It’s all about the yen and yang, baby.
Watch Ocote Soul Sounds’ music video for “Pathways” below: