09 March 2011
Once in a while an album drops which surprises you, takes you to unexpected places. Analog Drift, the second solo release from jersey City-based Chico Mann, is one of those rare gems. The multi-instrumentalist, born Marcos Garcia, melds 1970s Afrobeat, soul and funk with 1980s breakbeat and electro to create a hybrid he describes as "Afro-Freestyle and Electro-Afrobeat". Stuttering handclaps, plucked guitars and vintage synths up the charm factor, but not nearly as much as Mann's simple call-and-response vocals: half choruses are effortlessly offered up in both English and Spanish, seemingly unpolished, yet entirely memorable. Mann's "dayjob" is playing guitar in New York allstar Afro outfit Antibalas and his musical family included a Father who owned a Latin record label, so it's not surprise those elements have informed the music. Throw in a little Herbie Hancock, Egyptian Lover and Quantic, and this compelling melting pot of sound takes hugely enjoyable shape.
Four and a half stars from five