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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

DJ Bitman

By Ernest Barteldes
Published February 19, 2008

Latin Bitman

Mixing samples and live performances rooted in bossa nova, breakbeat, salsa, funk, jazz, and hip-hop, DJ Bitman delivers a highly enjoyable disc that is a profound statement about the diversity of his musical background. It’s a virtual journey that begins, on “Latin Airlines Intro,” with a jazzy electric piano groove, and gradually morphs into a wash of electronic beats with Portuguese and Spanish lyrics—all of it looped with a ’70s trumpet that’s reminiscent of Herb Alpert. Halfway through “Me Gustan,” Bitman dares to insert a hard-bopping jazz piece that somehow blends seamlessly with the song’s loping funk beat. It’s followed by the reggae-inflected “Ejale,” sung in English by Julian Peña with a vivid Cure-meets- Duran Duran inflection. And although Bitman hails from Santiago, Chile, he clearly knows his Brazilian styles—most notably on “Blackbossa,” where he mixes samples from an old recording of “O Pato” (“The Duck”) with a vocal loop that resembles Jorge Ben’s early recordings. Overall, Latin Bitman is a cool sonic pastiche that works equally well at a house party or on a long road trip.