tue 17/01/2017

CD: Sidestepper – Supernatural Love | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Sidestepper – Supernatural Love

CD: Sidestepper – Supernatural Love

The latest from the electro-cumbia pioneers

Sidestepper come into their seductive own when they stay close to cumbia roots
Sidestepper's 'salsa con estilo inglés'

Sidestepper have been ploughing the rich ground of "electro-cumbia" for some years now. Their appealing contribution to the world dance scene is the fruit of a collaboration between Richard Blair, with his taste for drum‘n’bass and dub, and a number of Colombian talents who’ve grown up with a heady mix of Afro-Caribbean polyrhythms and traditional tribal melodies.

Made in the laid-back barrios of Bogota, the new album juxtaposes tracks rooted in the irresistible and intricate local beats, driven by delicately played hand drums and other percussion, with slightly more mainstream pop and rock sounds, featuring English vocals. The variety makes for an album that avoids the monotony of homogeneity, but falls short of having a strong overall identity, as if the cultural mix at the heart of Sidestepper’s Anglo-Colombian character were as much of a hindrance as an asset.  A Colombian music journalist described them as “salsa con estilo inglés . The more English it gets, as on tracks like “On the Line” and “Hear the Rain Come”, the more they get stuck in the middle of the road, albeit a feel-good space full of Caribbean sunshine.

Sidestepper come into their seductive own when they stay close to cumbia roots as with "Fuego Que Te Llama", “Magangué”, and “La Flor y la Voz”, where rippling drums and kalimba combine with feisty singing from regular vocalist “Eka” Muñoz, perfectly timed backing vocals are bound together in mesmerizing call-and-response, and native Colombian roots are evoked by trance-inducing flutes. The album is well worth checking out for these scintillating tracks alone, guaranteed to make you move, but with cool sensuality rather than the fire of possession. This is music that flows like water, the fluidity enhanced by tasteful production from Richard Blair, whose electronic sound-bending never calls attention to itself, but provides instead for a dreamy and captivating magic.

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