Buscemi Our Girl In Havana

I fell heart over headphones in love with Buscemi's debut EP, religiously hunting down all works that bore his distinctive black and white record jackets. The late ’98 full-length, Mocha Supremo was more than worth the work; Buscemi creates dance music from a decidedly different perspective. Belgian Dirk Swartenbroekx is simply in a league of his own, handily proving this point again throughout Our Girl in Havana. The dance music world may have more than caught up with Buscemi's heavy referencing of Brazilian and Latin American rhythms, but Swartenbroekx's ears are heavily attuned to the future. Here, he nods to the traditional during "La Musica..." and "Ramiro's Theme," but the distinctively South American percussive sounds act as a diving board. "Spooky Samba" is more like an off-kilter batucada, feeling both familiar and odd in the same breath. Buscemi excels at creating diverse, jazzy dance music — quirky, catchy, and wonderfully unconventional. "Calling All Drama Queens" and "Nightlife at 3:33" are both quintessential; introspective yet sweaty, ethereal yet slinky, they are three a.m. dance floor insta-classics. "The Salon Section" is simply one of the year's best pieces of dance music — gliding and grooving; it's as subtle, smart and sensual as can be. Things take a different turn with "Angel of L.A.," where a woman is repeatedly heard saying, “Los Angeles, where a woman is raped, murdered,” over increasingly frantic drum & bass beats. It's a bold effort, though it leaves me wanting to hear the remainder, and context, of her words. Given that this track was released as the album's first single, it's clear that Buscemi cares to speak on many levels. I look forward to his future tales (Lowlands)