Sunday, March 24, 2013

ELEMENTS OF LIFE-Eclipse (Fania Records, 2013)

I have nothing but respect for Latin house maximum pioneer Louie Vega. However, I'm not much of a house fan, per se, so for obvious reasons Kenny Dope is and will always be my favorite half of the Masters At Work. Still, when I heard that Fania Records was coming out with a new release, their first release of brand new original music in decades (they've been doing mostly reissues and remixes in this new incarnation of the label so far) and it was going to be one by Louie Vega's live band project, I was extremely excited for it. I really loved what Joe Claussell did for Fania last year and I was expecting something on that sense.
Was I disappointed when I finally listened to it? Well, yes and no. Don't get me wrong there's some great musicianship in this Elements of Life band and I think they're a good match for Fania. It's very soulful, as expected, and more on the chill side than the dance floor, but still, some beautiful music. Problem is, all the lyrics are filled with optimistic, positive, uplifting messages and after a couple of tracks I get annoyed by that. Sorry, I'm too cynical, and I can only take save-the-children-heal-the-earth type of songs in very small doses. I need more Pedro Navaja on my Fania, I need more gritty streets. This is too clean, too shinny, too sterile.
Anyway, that's just one of the 2 CDs in this pack. The second one is an hour-plus-change mix set of reworked Fania classics and covers and I loved it from beginning to end. Just for that second CD, it's worth picking this one up. I would usually suggest you get the vinyl edition, but you'd be missing this mix, so in an unlikely move, I'll recommend you to ignore your instincts, don't judge this album by its horrible cover, and buy the CD instead.

Orde yours HERE.

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