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Serious

Da Lata

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Album Review

Dance music fusions can be dodgy propositions. Too often, an artist will substitute a little knowledge (or a few presets) for a faithful study of what makes another form of music special. Da Lata, the Brazilian beat project formed by longtime DJs and producers Chris Franck and Patrick Forge, scored right off the bat with the 1998 single "Prá Manhã," plus an accompanying album (2000's Songs From the Tin). Their second proper full-length, Serious, expands on the promise of the first and proves that Da Lata are one of the few capable of an intriguing, long-lasting dance/world fusion. Already balancing the organic and the electronic in splendid fashion, Franck and Forge (plus master programmer/engineer Toni Economides) invited a few respected names for collaborations. The opener, "Serious," features vocals from broken beat veteran Bembe Segue and Palm's own Mamani Keïta over a brisk Afrobeat number that stretches out with great work from accordion and trombones. "Distracted Minds" is the showcase, a brilliant, haunting fusion of Africa and Brazil matching Senegalese master Baaba Maal with Nina Miranda from Arkestra One. "Firefly," practically the only track with a clear predecessor, takes on Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters-era "Watermelon Man," with Franck and Forge contributing whistles, ocarina, berimbau, pandeiro, shakers, and tres.

Customer Reviews

A welcome return, albeit inconsistent

Da Lata's Songs from the Tin was an artful and thoroughly listenable serving of updated Bossa. When I came upon the second full-length album from this project, I was excited to learn how their sound had evolved. It certainly has evolved and diversified in Serious. The title track is a respectable afrobeat tune, through and through. But the rest of the album is an inconsistent mix of genres and sounds that doesn't come close to the cohesiveness of Songs from the Tin. Alice and Can it Be? come close. Overall, there are some very nice tracks here that stand alone and retain the originality Da Lata brought to the scene in 2000. Beyond that, it falls short of what I expected from the talent that brought us a solid album on their first outing. Read more to hear more @torontoArm.

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The London-based Brazilian fusion group Da Lata established themselves long before it became fashionable for a dance act to quote South American forms. In 1992, the group's core members — Christian Franck and Patrick Forge — formed Batu, which played numerous live gigs and recorded a couple of songs for Big Cheeze in Paris and for the excellent Rebirth of Cool, Vol. 4. After several years of group inactivity, the duo re-formed in the summer of 1998 as Da Lata and invited Portuguese percussionist...
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