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DJ Dolores 1 Real [review]

Before I get into this, let me just say first: I am not the world's leading voice on World Music or House Music, but growing up on the sample-based sounds of Hip-Hop, my ears are a bit more varied and open to new, interesting sounds. And DJ Dolores' 1 Real is certainly that. This, his 3rd album, speaks of the city of Recife in Brazil, where bootleg CDRs that sell for "1 real" help expose the 1 real voice and gritty swagger that comes from poor nations... or, at least that's what comes from the liner notes. The actual music is at times both exciting and monotonous, and chock full of interesting choices.

First off, track 1 ("Deixa Falar", which you can hear via Download.com Music) had me thinking a dog was coming at me. Then I realized it was in the song - which is created to be sort of a "let the journalists define our music, we just make beats" - was meant to do that to you. Let the dogs bark while we have a lark, which is cool. I love the cool House-y thump with those stuttering horns and organ stabs, this track has an ill vibe to it! From there, it's sort of hit-or-miss for me. For every "Wakaru", with it's dubby vibe matched with violins and random splices of speech really works (and is a standout cut for me), but the proto-Jungle/Surf Funk of "Flying Horse" doesn't work for me at all. While I am all for experimentation and taking risks/making statements, a full CD of nothing but genre-blending, seemingly without merit, can grow taxing on the mind. There are two tracks that Dolores created for a European edition of a Wolverine tale ("Mutant Child" and "Saudade") which play perfectly as the soundtrack to Logan's dark paranoia, "Cala Cala" is also a favorite of mine, with the Afrobeat vibe and that 'cala cala' chant is so catchy, not to mention those funked-out horns breathing new life into the track. Really moving music, and while this might not be something you'd expect initially in the dancehall, this somehow would work very well.

At the end of the day, I'm kind of on the fence. While I am very into the idea of twisting many styles and creating almost a melting pot of media, angled at telling a very real story of my people (in the sense of the poor and disenfranchised), it almost becomes overkill, for me. I also wish some of the tracks were longer - 13 tracks (which includes 1 bonus track), clocking in under an hour? You almost wish tracks like "Wakaru" were given more than 3 and a half minutes to breathe, but then again, in the ghettos of the world, many things are snuffed out before their time...

I tip my hat off to DJ Dolores for creating a soundscape aimed at bridging the gaps both musically and socially. Just know what you are getting into before picking this one up.

rock the dub gives 1 Real a 3.5 out of 5 stars. While experimentation and genre-mashing is great, sometimes minimal can be better. Great for fans of World Music or those looking for something a bit unconventional for their CD changers.

Burn Deez: "Wakaru", "Cala Cala"

Get more info on 1 Real via the Crammed Discs website. You can buy it there, or via Amazon on import (domestic release date is March 25th I believe).


Bonus Beats: Check out DJ Dolores in Recife in this film by John Erbuer

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