This is the first release on new label Forbidden Cuts – self-styled ‘no-nonsense’ subsidiary of Lisbon label Discotexas. From the sounds of these tracks (and as promised by Forbidden Cuts themselves) the focus will be on the rich cultural tapestry that makes up the Portuguese capital, drawing flavours from the music of West Africa and the Americas. Oma Nata makes reference to those regions here, tying everything together with solid house beats that current-home Hamburg has no doubt helped shape.
The result is a confident take on a marriage of styles that you hear less than you would expect. Afro-beat has long been a fruitful source of inspiration in House music and the Jazz road is also well-travelled – but I hear Samba rhythms like these in conjunction with the aforementioned styles rarely.
All of the tracks are strong. ‘Baiana’ is perhaps the most straightforward of the three with Latin guitar, flute and tom fills that add spice to a functional house chug. ‘El Seguidor’ has a looseness to it, lent by some deliciously wonky keys and proper live sounding drums – West-African rhythms and Jazz sensibilities fully to the fore. And ‘Sozinho’s’ incessant tap and rattle hypnotically props up a hyena-like hoot before gorgeous gaucho guitar washes over – velvet saxophone in tow – evoking desert and violet-blue night.
Oma Nata is clearly an accomplished musician. There’s clever arrangement and manipulation of tone that belie the fact that this is his début under that name only. The tracks are well put together and make me want to dance – can’t really argue with that.