For an album dependent on fusion and crossing cultures, the maiden voyage of Los Transatlanticos lacks spark. Reggae/dub and Latin, regularly caught up in a calypso quarrel, hits a glass ceiling. Though an always lively funk carioca and a convergence that stops itself before getting too crowded, it becomes an experiment with unsurprising outcomes. Croatian Dean Bagar, a regular visitor to South America until he made a record with vinyl pen friend Pablo Gaviria puts you in the holiday mood with “Mi Sembrado” and “Donde Esta Maria” telling when the clubs are open and “Alone I Am” showing you a less hectic side to the scenery. Traditional sounds are given an electronic workover as Bagar lugs his melting pot down back streets, with added hip-hop attractions (“Tierra Y Sol” packs in as much as possible), tentative attempts at dubstep integration (“Desde Colombia,” “De Donde Vengo Yo”) and big-beat, beat-boxed road trips (“Te Miro”).
The inevitable drum ‘n’ bass shake-up is last on, a remix of LA 33’s “Funky Boogaloo.”.If you’re rushing to the departures gate, snapping up First Trip isn’t a bad idea, but it’s unlikely you’ll be spinning it once back home and a language barrier shouldn’t be held responsible either. The live performance with its instrumentalists, elements and cultures alignedmight provide more excitement.
File under: The Nextmen, Latin Dub Soundsystem, Sunlightsquare