Thursday, March 28, 2013

CD Review: Karlex's 'Paris/New York/Port Au Prince'

Paris/New York/Port Au Prince
Lil'people Records

Paris/New York/Port Au Prince reflects Karlex's multi-national roots and residences over the years. Hailing originally from Haiti, Karlex brings together a fusion of Caribbean, American, and French pop confections with good amounts of funk, jazz, and folk that are all raw and brilliant. The songs are sung in English, French, and Haitian Creole. "Regarder La Verite" opens with a jaunty beat and earthy vocals that reflect a slight reggae tone and dreamy, nostalgic folk-rock with an Americana foundation. "Restavek" begins with blurby electronica and dance-laden percussion that is groovy and hip-hop focused. The rap vocals are accompanied by swift guitar-work and urban lyrics that are driven by instrumentation. "I Say Hey" begins with a reverberating electric guitar and swishy electronic embellishments. The Afro-Caribbean grooves are based on gritty jazz elements with an almost aboriginal rock beat. "Miami Beach" opens with a jazzy, but swishy rock tune with shimmering electronic inclusions. The twelve songs reflect a wide array of vocal and instrumental arrangements that are anything but dull. The music is not characteristic reggae, rock, jazz, pop, or classical. Instead, Karlex explores the popular melodies and rhythms of the Caribbean, Africa, France, and the United States. Essentially, Karlex should be on the playlists for anyone seriously interested in multi-ethnic roots music and French Diaspora music in particular. 5 Stars (out of 5). ~ Matthew Forss  

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