Juan Laya & Jorge Montiel ‘Electropical’ (Imagenes Records)

‘Electropical’ sees Juan Laya & Jorge Montiel (best known for their Los Charlys Orchestra albums) re-imagine some of the most emblematic tracks from the Latin music world including ‘Manduco’ and ‘Fruta Fresca’ as well unveiling new material including an awesome jazzy Latin Disco version of the millennial summer anthem ‘Pasilda’. Playful sounds and organic grooves are carefully balanced with a subtle ‘Electropical’ touch to forge a natural expression of fusion – a perspective that has characterised the work of Juan & Jorge for more than a decade now.

Infusing tropical vibes and electronic grooves to reflect the vivid ever evolving Latin American soundscape this is a fresh musical excursion which distills in a melting pot of authentic latin anthems, jazzy grooves, disco infused songs and balearic sounds. This immersive experience explores the colourful influences of the Caribbean, Amazonian and beyond. Its heart-warming journey is a highly seductive experience that further enhances the mood with a perfect slice of summer sunshine.

This impressive album goes from the folk-inspired Todd Terje favourite, ‘Cumbanchero’ (included on his Radio 1 Essential Mix) to the raw percussive style of ‘Tambor Urbano’. ‘Electropical’ elegantly weaves into its textures the primal drums, rippling jazz guitar, undulating bass and unique sounds such as vibraphone, Peruvian pan flute and congas conjuring the roots of latin music, this unique sonic landscape forges an immense intimate connection.

Juan Laya & Jorge Montiel ‘Electropical’ (Imagenes Records) is out now on Limited Edition Vinyl 12” and  Digital Cat No: IMAGENES080 

Here is an extensive run down of the album track by track.

1 Crie Sua Realidade
The Brazilian soul opens up this album as a unified part of the Latin – American community featuring Imagenes Recordings’ invincible bass player Matheus Nova, who also delivers a powerful spoken word Intro in pure City of God’ Seu Jorge fashion.

2 Pasilda:
Featuring the premiere of British/Colombian singer Angie Rincon whose outstanding vocal performance is re-interpreted by Juan & Jorge  and given their signature LCO’ production stamp. This early 2000’s house/Ibiza classic anthem is blended in sublime jazzy Latin Disco style which will surely be remembered over time as much as the original.

3 Fruta Fresca
Colombian singer Carlos Vives everlasting hit “Fruta Fresca” (Fresh Fruit) in 1999 made a huge mark on the history of Latin American music and has been heard across the latin world ever since. Here the vibes are synthesised through an open electronic atmosphere, where Balearic sounds meet the Andes region of Colombia overlooking the horizon all the way down through its accordion-filled extensions.

4 Tambor Urbano
“Tambor Urbano” is a folkloric drum ensemble from the Caribbean coast of Venezuela, specifically from La Guaira town, a village situated just an hour away from the capital city, Caracas. An entire formation playing complex rhythms interlaced through their hand-made drums, the collective hold a performance that usually take place during the evenings along the beaches of the region, where the locals and the drum ensemble engage in a traditional dance routine around a wood fire.
In the late 70’s the drumming group managed to popularise their performance in the capital and nationwide by incorporating new alternative elements into their sound and look, hence giving birth to their name ‘Urban Drums’ (Tambor Urbano).
That initial philosophy of sonic fusion gets passed to Juan & Jorge for a brand new re-processing which travels this time from Caracas to Europe and beyond.

5 Cumbanchero
The original “Cumbanchero” is a classic in the world of Latin music something akin to what a 60’s Motown song is to Soul music. This outstanding rework mixes a new Cumbia flavour with Afro Latin sounds and accordion crossing genres that’s never been done before.
Renowned DJ/Producer Todd Terje featured this track on his BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix when it was first released, generating a huge buzz across London and Europe. It was this initial enthusiastic feedback that inspired Juan & Jorge to develop their unique Electropical fusion.

6 Semana Santa En Achaguas
A raw recording of live Drums and Congas so locked in a heavy Guaguanco groove, with the trumpet and vocal scatting of Andre Espeut’s call and response setting it all off in an improvised jazz style somewhat reminiscent of Ray Barreto’s early years of experimental psychedelia.

7 Vuelo Del Condor
The Andean Condor flies endlessly overlooking its domains, whilst maestro Carlos Salanda Aka KantiQena delivers his distinctive Peruvian Pan Flute sound over the minimalist moogie bass line.

8 Manduco

Juan & Jorge rework the powerful vocals of Latin Jazz diva Maria Rivas massive 90s hit ‘Manduco’ in their amplified nu ethno electronic perspective which starts off colourful and playful before progressively expanding into a deeper dimension through it’s bassline and rhythms. The icing on the cake comes from UK Jazz guru, Xantone Blacq, who adds the final Vibraphone spark to this stunning re-work.

9 Sabana
“Tonada De Ordeño – Milking songs are relaxing songs that peasants sing at farms across the entire Latin-American region when rounding up the cows in the early hours of the dawn. The tonada  “Sabana” (originally composed by maestro Simon Diaz) gets the Nu Jazz treatment for a full re-composition that shows a clear window into the restless spirit of sonic innovation that’s driven Juan & Jorge since the early years of their career.