This summer I relegated my downtempo sounds to the back of my Zen and move the more “crunktastic” sounds to the front. However, one “downtempo” album has made the cut. In fact, My Zen is showing that its the most heavily played album of year, with 72 spins so far.
The EP is called Brodcast No. 1, from the LA-based group, A Race of Angels. From the first listen, you could automatically assume that it could be a mix of Luther Vandross and Portishead.
Luther and Portishead? Huh?
Yeah, that's right, Brodcast No. 1 is the most soulful “chill out” album since Tricky's Maxinquaye or Morcheeba's Who Can You Trust. It is a beautifully crafted work, blending soul, funk, jazz, and orchestral sounds into a wondeful, yet unclassifiable package.
The first track, “Greeting” is only 56 seconds long, seamlessly leading directly into “Golden,” the second and most epic of the 7 tracks on this album. The third track, “Micheal & The Force” is a more upbeat, and dare I say, danceable song. However, the standout track on this CD is “Afrika Displaced,” which features an acoustic guitar over some spooky, low-key synthesizers, and the lead singers voice, which becomes the most convincing musical instrument in itself.
The trick to this whole CD is: Who are A Race of Angels? Is it a group? One person? A duo? Who knows. Their press kit has no pictures or biographical information. In fact, after 4 months I still haven't figured this question out. It's almost like reading a book when you think about it. You have to use your imagination to fill in the gaps that the author provides you.
This is the whole point of AROA. Their music shatters all classifications and labels. Shouldn't the musician shatter these same classifications as well?
My only complaint about Broadcast No. 1 is that its only an EP and contains just 7 tracks. After the last track, “Love is the End,” you're wanting more.
The final verdict: BUY THIS CD. BUY IT NOW!