Alma Negra – Conversation

7.5

The Alma Negra collective are a highly productive bunch, to say the least. This fresh offering, to be released on Heist Recordings, will be their fifth release of the year, and with four diverse members in their crew, it’s easy to see why. The Almas are based in Switzerland, but their members have a heritage that spans from Cape Verde to Spain via Italy and Portugal. It is perhaps this range of perspectives that allows such productivity throughout the year; with each member bringing something so different to the table, it’s easy to see how quickly inspiration is sparked.

Conversation, then, can truly be said to be an open dialogue between different cultures and musical traditions. The title track is a rumbling, rolling epic, which sounds like it came from the heart of the jungle. It’s a cross between tight African percussion lines and filthy techno. Synths and pads criss-cross in and out, but it is the pounding percussion that keeps it grounded and moving right along. The Awanto 3 remix of “Conversation” that comes at the end of the EP is melodic where the original is percussive, shedding entirely new light on the original vision.

“This Is The Place” is different again, erring more on the side of deep house. The indistinct vocal sample mutters over the summery backing samples, with the only clear words being ‘jungle fever’, encouraging you to sit back, let the track wash over you and be taken somewhere else entirely. The final original track on the EP is “From The Heart”, which moves, again, in an entirely new direction from its predecessors. The track is structured around a repeating pattern of claps, strings, vocal samples, subtle rhythms and even subtler instrumental samples. It chugs on through, feeling awfully like finding your way with a torch in the pitch black of night – you never see beyond the yellow circle of light, but whilst you have it there, you somehow feel alright.

In just three tracks, Alma Negra showcase a huge range of styles. Rather than feeling confused or incomplete, they flaunt their diversity as something that works to their advantage.