Deela Mano Mano

Multi-instrumentalist German duo Deela apply a Thievery Corporation-type small world philosophy of infusing a broad blend of international styles into their lounge-y production, with mixed results, on their debut set Mano Mano. An impressive array of subtle Afrobeat rhythms, bluesy slide guitar, Latin vocals, dancehall reggae vibes and various South American percussive sounds each find their way into the Deela groove, backed up by funky bass lines and a prominent inclusion of lengthy flute and horn solos. Though the pair try to match live instruments to their heavy use of sampled sounds whenever possible, it’s not always easy to tell which is which, as square drumming and formulated arrangements tend to give everything a rather loopy feel. As such, cuts that put more emphasis on DJ-oriented club beats, like the smooth melodies and danceable backbeat of "For What Your Are,” fare better than tunes like "Absourdo,” where the potentially energising samba percussion elements are made repetitive by that same club mindset. Over 19 tracks, that repetitive feel inevitably tests your attention span, even with the many intriguing, well-played live bits. (Groove Attack)