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 V.17 No.7 | February 14 - 20, 2008 

Sonic Reducer

Omar Sosa Afreecanos (Otá Records)

On Afreecanos, jazz pianist/composer Omar Sosa’s first studio recording since 2004’s masterwork Mulatos, the musics of Africa and the New World again go swimming together in the sea of his imagination and artistry. Featuring 21 musicians on traditional African and modern instruments, Afreecanos is more orchestrated and more rhythm-centric than Mulatos (fragments of which appear fleetingly on every track in Sosa’s piano improvs) but it continues the same fabulously successful experiment. Though not as consistent as its predecessor, Afreecanos does offer several tracks that equal or surpass anything on Mulatos, including “Nene La Kanou,” “Ollú” and the elegiac “Why Anga?” (MM)

Grand Archives The Grand Archives (Sub Pop)

Seattle, Wash.'s Grand Archives sound more like a Southern California sunshine band than an outfit bred in the dreary rain-drenched Pacific Northwest. It seems ex-Band of Horses member and Grand Archives frontman Mat Brooke wanted to write songs to chase the clouds away, and the result is a collection of singsongy, atmospheric, angst-tinged pop. A little brass, some pedal steel and guitars played with violin bows give the band a heavy dose of indie quirkiness, but you can usually find soul at the core of the dreamy melodies. An album built to help you get over turbulent times, not rehash them. (SM)

Lightspeed Champion Falling Off The Lavender Bridge (Domino Records)

Almost nauseatingly hip and assisted by Saddle Creek alums such as Bright Eyes, The Faint and Cursive, this debut from former Test Icicle Devonte Hynes may not win you over at once. The album comes off as mildly derivative, slightly awkward and overly complicated. But Falling Off The Lavender Bridge's occasional symphonic arrangements, juxtaposition of country and Western elements, liberal swearing and Pavement-esque lyrical constructs could, eventually, work their way into your good graces. If not, Hynes' cool hair should win you over. (JCC)

(MM) Mel Minter, (SM) Simon McCormack, (JCC) Jessica Cassyle Carr

 
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