Stereo Deluxe recording artist Mo' Horizons (Ralf Droesemeyer and Mark Wetzler with friends) have been growing and evolving through the years. Their latest album And the New Bohemian Freedom (released in late 2003) is a seamless, hypnotic album which is equally welcome on the dancefloors, on the radio, or on your home stereo. They've upped the complexity from past releases (like their debut album from 1999, Come Touch the Sun which now sounds charmingly simple) which helps them to keep a current sound, but they never veer to far from their original intent.
Mo' Horizons is able to combine the organic sounds of jazz (rhythms from various types of Latin music like Cuba, Brazil and India), with electronics as they delve into a blend of glitched electronics and sweet segues via tastily chosen samples - augmented by real musicians and guest singers (Carmen Zapata, Denise M'Baye, Jose Lopez, and Yorio da Costa Gonzales) who sing their own lyrics. This collective process gels together perfectly for a really solid album.
Como E O Ar starts the album out in a mellow, glitched acoustic guitar strumming style, a laid back beat and a call to arms styled vocal from Yorio da Costa Gonzales. Drum 'n Boogaloo (Full Vocal Mix) is the most typical sounding tune on And the New Bohemian Freedom thanks to the Cuban rhythms - quite modernly handled by Ralf Droesemeyer and Mark Wetzler with scatting, cat-like vocals - it's not my favorite song here, but it definitely would get a dancefloor going.
African Sunset is an interesting combination of blaxploitation styled rhythms (think Curtis Mayfield) that has some crying African (well, of course) male and female vocals, mixed with some Stevie Wonder harmonica and Richard "Groove" Holmes organ.
Mambuloo sounds more like it would come out of the American south, a slapping Stax styled jazz beat. The song is well mixed with some Cuban rhythms which really spice this partying instrumental up.
Morning Bay uses sitar and wordless vocals reminding me of Bobby Hughes foray into this style, though Mo' Horizons takes a decidedly more world music angle. Touch of Hope was one of my favorite songs on the disc thanks to the dreamy female vocals and amazing rhythms. I felt like I'd heard this set ending song before but I couldn't place where - it also hearkens back to the more political vocals of Mo' Horizons earlier work.
One thing to be aware of - Mo' Horizons' And the New Bohemian Freedom is a copy protected cd (it has it's own cd playing software on the cd) which can add some heartache when listening on a computer. If you don't choose their player the glitched out sound you are hearing may actually be the cd malfunctioning and not the music!