Carrying blistering funk lines in their fingers and worldly influences in their hearts, the unique and distinctive Mocambo sound is not one to be confused with retro bands trying to recapture an era. Eschewing traditional recording methods, this DIY crew are committed to driving forwards, and 2066 sees them at the height of their powers, broadcasting a call for unity.
After reaching new audiences worldwide and earning critical praise for their two long players on Brooklyn’s Big Crown Records in their tropical guise as Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, the band have reassembled and refocused in their original form, the workhorses behind dozens of 45s on the Mocambo label and beyond. Crossing generations, this album introduces some of the world’s youngest funk talent to step up and rub shoulders with soul and rap legends, soul sisters, an elder statesman composer/arranger and a brand new emerging artist out of New York.
As with all Mocambo releases, the two sides of the record have been meticulously sequenced by the band. Side A welcomes us aboard with joyous instrumental stomper Preaching To The Choir, and a call to build bridges from Mocambo chanteuse and percussionist Nichola Richards, duetting with emerging rap talent,NewYork MC JSwiss.B-girlsandb-boysarecalledtothedancefloorasS uperstradaand Concrete Stardust commence, all buzzing synth lines and relentless drums. New Jersey legend and Big Crown associate Mr Lee Fields is guest of honour for Where Do We Go From Here before a horn workout brings us to a close with Macumba. It’s time for a breather.
The B side kicks off with the grand return of the Golden Girl of Funk, Gizelle Smith, a sister who’s been busy taking on the world. Composer and presenter Peter Thomas narrates a Return To Space to mark the centenary of the debut of his score to sci-fi show Space Patrol, which first broadcast in 1966. We’re back down to Earth and the mean streets for the furious drums and car chase workout of Golden Shadow. Today slows down the pace for a reflective ballad with Nichola front and centre – and here’s the next generation: the Mocambo Kidz sing along to their parents’ instrumentation for Here We Go, a new kids’ block party anthem… with no sleep ’til bedtime. The album closer makes it clear that the Mocambos are nowhere near powering down as Ice T and Charlie F unk bring their A-game for an old school attack which, since you’re up bouncing anyway, gives you no excuse not to flip the LP and drop the needle right back on to Side A. Onwards!
A summation of their journey so far and a celebration in anticipation of what’s to come, the album is set to take its place in a legacy of open minded, organically recorded music, showering listeners with the crew’s maze of tantalising sounds pulled from funk, Afro, hip hop with cinematic composition and storytelling.
Agent J [Groovement Radio]