The Alchemist Manifesto
With a tight mix of soul jazz, Latin pop, dub, afro-beat, and '90s era electronica, Ocote Soul Sounds (Martin Perna of Antibalas) and Adrian Quesada (of Grupo Fantasma) create a noir-ish, often impish, always hep-cool aural existence, a unique one totally befitting the pairing's origin. Brooklyn-ite Perna was en route to Mexico when his car broke down and he lodged with Quesada; the two formed an immediate musical bond, creating EL NINO Y EL SOL, the conjured-up soundtrack to a fictional movie. THE ALCHEMIST MANIFESTO (20008) takes the smoothly dramatic, oddball, totally enveloping sound of the original and ups the ante on one of the richest, most languidly rapturous records of its year. Perna's wandering flute drifts in and out of the percussive backdrop, along with all sorts of strings, keys, loops, chants, and samples on compact compositions first distracting, then absorbing.