It is an album that is filled with a variety of influences and styles – yet not all of them work on this confusing album.
The album is a mixture of classical music mixed with Afro-Caribbean music and modern grooves – being performed by a huge range of instruments that includes flutes, saxophones and even on occasion electronics . What you are left with is a rich and varied combination of music that can come across as slightly too chaotic to fully appreciate what Spiro and Wallace have achieved on this record.
It is exciting to begin with, particularly when listening to the title track ‘Canto America’ – a vibrant and mystical piece of music that draws the listener in gradually, while increasing the level of drama to a beautiful climax.
This feeling continues ‘La Propaganda de Hoy’ – which rises the tempo and adds a more upbeat vibe to the album, again filled with plenty of variety and surprises constantly keeping the listener on their toes.
However, after a while the imagination and the energy seems to run out before the end of the album as can be heard on pieces such as ‘El Medico’ and ‘ El Caldero de Ogun’ which sounds as though the musicians are getting slightly tired and need a change of pace to keep up. These two pieces in particular make the listener lose patience in the slight self-indulgent length that don’t feel as though they are going anywhere.
This may seem like a harsh assessment, but there is plenty of ideas on the album as a whole but just not enough room for them to breathe and enjoy properly – which is a shame considering the quality of the performances.
Overall, it is an album of two halves: the first starts out positively and bursting with both energy and ideas, while the second seems to be less certain and lacking in confidence that is needed to make to album overall a success.
Canto América by Wayne Wallace and Michael Spiro will be released through Patois Records on the 12th February. The album is available to pre-order from Amazon now.