CD: Fimber Bravo - Con-Fusion | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Fimber Bravo - Con-Fusion
The 20th Century Steel Band leader is sounding fine in the 21st
If you listened to the last archived Arts Desk Radio Show you'll have heard me play a couple of tracks from this, and it was all I could do not to play more. As so often I'd gone into the studio with the previous couple of days' post pile and started picking through it for CDs to play. Usually this is a faff involving flicking through tracks and hoping one will jump out, but as soon as this one went into the machine, every single track got a tick by its name.
The name Fimber Bravo meant nothing to me and I hadn't read the press release to find out the provenance of the album, but the combination of raw-sounding caribbean steel drums, Afrobeat rhythms and elegant electro-pop fizz running through the album was simply infectious even on that initial bounce-through. And playing tracks loud on the crisp studio monitors made me want to dive into the album and soak it up from beginning to end.
OK, there was one instantly recognisable hint to Mr Bravo's connections. On the album's third track and only ballad “The Way we Live Today”, the cracked falsetto of Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor adds a touching parallel universe pop touch. Reading the credits, you'll find the rest of Hot Chip, plus Jonnie Wilkes of Glasgow's Optimo DJ duo, UK-Japanese producer Zongamin and psychedelic one-off Mickey Moonlight. And it turns out that Bravo has a long and illustrious history, his 20th Century Steel Band been sampled by hip hop's great and good.
What is wonderful is that none of this matters. This album really is so instant, yet so full of beguiling depths, that questions of how hip or connected, futurist or retro it is go out of the window. It is sui generis, yet somehow instantly familiar and effortless to appreciate. It is, in short, absolutely magic – and if you don't believe me, check it out on a rather good radio show.
Watch the video for "Life After Doomsday"
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Bristolian house don's debut has its tasty moments
Euphoric celebration of dance music let down by strange orchestration and sound issues
Collection of originals and adaptations bears witness to Taylor's understated brilliance
World Music Fest gets muddy but Senegalese and systems folk group shine
Surfing across the global bandwidths at the top world music festival
A muscular psychedelic debut from Portugal that heads straight for the dance-floor
Welsh star's songs show their age, country pop duo's their youth in spirited alfresco show
The Only Ones frontman pops up for a rare and riveting performance
Torpid sixth album from former freak-folker Andy Cabic
Lavish box set puts a new twist on the great American songbook
The legendary Cuban ensemble’s 40th anniversary celebration doesn’t quite take off
The difficult fourth album from London indie stalwarts