Ocote Soul Sounds and Adrian Quesada El Niño y El Sol

Two years ago in the midst of an eco-utopian road trip, Martin Perna, founding member of NYC Afro-powerhouse Antibalas, found himself stranded in Austin, TX when his Mercedes Benz running on vegetable oil kicked it. Hooking up with Adrian Quesada, ringleader of hot Austin cumbia collective Grupo Fantasma, the roots of El Niño y El Sol commenced when the two started jamming using minimal, standard equipment like guitars and bass, but also throwing in some flute and light electronic sounds with the goal of making instrumental, Latin-tinged grooves that would be the soundtrack to a film that didn’t exist. Picked up by the Thievery Corporation’s ESL Label, El Niño y El Sol is a laidback affair compared to Perna and Queasda’s day jobs, and more akin to the organic funk of Tommy Guerrero. Recorded in various sessions, the mid-tempo album sounds more like a compilation of jams than an actual soundtrack concept but they achieve warm sounds on the sax-fuelled jam "Justicia” and the airy flute and wah-wah "blaxploitation” guitar on "Tamarindio.” Fans of Antibalas/Grupo Fantasma will be disappointed in a lack of energetic, hip-shakers, but should take solace in the hypnotising grooves that are still intact. (ESL)