What does El Búho sound like?
Usually creating Latin American grooves, this release takes on a Dominican and Jamaican beat.
The review of El Búho – Tón Tón
After the excellent Natura Sonora, El Búho returns with a new direction on his latest EP ‘Tón Tón’. This release is inspired by Dembow, a type of music that originates from the Jamaican dancehall. It has that riddim that has a skip in its step and hit the global ears in the 90s with Shabba Ranks. Taking that riddim, El Búho brings along his signature organic and acoustic instruments to give the groove a totally different flavour. It collides excellently to provide one of El Búho’s most uptempo releases to date.
Each track tackles a different dembow beat but the EP works like a party for the soul. Opening with ‘Get At You’, we are led with thick beats, light electronica and some smooth ethno-jazz. Borrowing ideas from Ethiopian jazz and mixing them with dembow works so well – it’s smoother than a baby’s bottom. ‘Sacrifice’ is a collaboration with Chilean producer Dj Raff and it takes warm organs and vocal ad-lib samples and plays them like accordions. It sounds like singing from another world – a dream state at times but the track sounds equal parts elating and calming as it swirls around you. The track is punchier but more hypnotic, like its lulling you in a trance state with the looped samples.
‘Sol y Tormenta’ is the only vocal track, featuring fast vocals from Ecuadorian LaMafiandina. With a floaty mix of fast speech and singing, LaMafiandina brings a level of sass and confidence to the track, which doubles down on this with a militant secondary beat. The rest of the audio is low-key woodwind and bass which keeps all the melodic elements percussive and smooth. Cool, throbbing and taking no crap is the feel of the track and I’m here for it. The closing song ‘Marti’ is the most El Búho of the lot. Trickling synths, warm keys, elegant wind and rustic drums all intertwine to create a mystical organic world. The French producer has an uncanny knack for creating hypnotic rhythms and sample loops and this is a prime example of that.
Whilst he’s moved inspiration to Anglo-America, El Búho has certainly lost none of his charm or ingenuity for creating sumptuous music. ‘Tón Tón’ brings a relaxed uptempo flavour, enriched with so many instruments and samples that you’re ears and mind are always delighted with what comes next. There is a lot of beat history and science behind each track if you want to dive into the academics of the release too. For me, the music lifts my spirit and that is what El Búho does so well time and time again.
Recommended track: Marti
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