Fun Fun Fun Fest Preview

Ocote Soul Sounds and The Alchemist Manifesto

Fun Fun Fun Fest Preview
Photo by Sandy Carson

Ocote Soul Sounds

3:45pm, Stage 3

The mystical grooves concocted by Ocote Soul Sounds, a collaborative effort between NYC- and Austin-based Antibalas founder Martín Perna and guitarist Adrian Quesada of locals Grupo Fantasma and Brownout, recall a Latin-tinged peyote pilgrimage through the Mexican desert, an instrumental interpretation of Carlos Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan. "Mysterious Latin funk," clarifies Perna. "Zero percent rock & roll."

The group's 2004 debut, El Niño y el Sol (Aire Sol), is a beautifully sedated take on Fela Kuti's funky Afrobeat, with Perna's ethereal flute melodies floating in and out of rhythms. The Antibalas comparisons are natural, but Perna is quick to highlight the differences. "Both [groups] are rooted in the clave," he says. "Ocote, however, is more laid-back, scaled-down, minimalistic at times."

Hip-hop heads will appreciate the big break beats and apparent nods to golden era superproducers like Pete Rock, a fact Perna only cryptically concedes. "This music is made in the outer borders of consciousness," he says. "So it wouldn't be a surprise if we met up with musical spirits out there and brought ideas back onto the record that are echoed elsewhere."

As a live act, Ocote Soul Sounds are an ever-changing organism. In NYC the lineup showcases the extended Antibalas family, whereas in Austin, Grupo Fantasma fills the ranks with special guests like trumpeter Ephraim Owens occasionally sitting in. Judging from the band's stellar showing at the 2007 Austin City Limits Music Festival, expect to hear choice cuts from Ocote Soul Sounds' latest sonic sojourn, The Alchemist Manifesto, due in February 2008 on ESL Music. "It's just another canvas to express on," Perna concludes. "Adrian and I like making music together, and apparently a lot of other people like that music."

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Ocote Soul Sounds, Mart'n Perna, Adrian Quesada

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