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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Sidestepper

By Tad Hendrickson

The Buena Vibra Sound System
Palm

The nom-de-plume of producer and engineer Richard Blair, Sidestepper’s latest disc is one of the best DJ-style forays into the Latin music galaxy. Here he builds on the unqualified success of 2003’s 3 A.M. (In Beats We Trust), creating music that is often Dance floor-friendly, but tempering his programming with a rich panoply of street sounds, random instrument noises and snatches of conversation. When he builds his proper tunes up, it’s not uncommon to hear cumbia rub against strict electronic beats. He’ll then layer in dubby touches of sub-sonic bass and echo, a sampled call and response chorus, and catchy keyboard melodies. The resulting music has a truly timeless quality because Blair also skillfully integrates live musicians (help comes from Carlos Vives and Aterciopelados’s Andrea Echeverri, as well as Bloque leader Ivan Benavides). Done with real flair throughout, this is sure to animate dance floors from Bogota to London.