Higher Octave
artist website, label website
Taking its place in the Deep Forest and Delirium vein, The Brave's B-Tribe ventures always incorporated Flamenco guitar and Gitano vocals, as though a concept meeting had proposed an Engima-meets-Gipsy-Kings creature. While I enjoyed the first entry into this oeuvre, I didn't follow its subsequent installments. That is, until a recent visit to Albuquerque's Gateway store had me cross paths with this, the apparently 5th incarnation, at the adjacent Barnes & Nobles anchor store that's outfitted with a bar-code music server system to allow track-intro sampling of pretty much any CD in inventory. Naturally, this devious invention empties your wallet faster than you can say 'grocery bill'. It explodes the listening station format of my local Santa Fe Borders where you're limited to a few sample CDs per genre each and thus somewhat protected from recklessness.

To be brief, like Moroccan Spirit, B-Tribe 5 is great fun. It mixes the requisite coital heavy breathing -- of the hip Ibiza crowd Claus Zundel aka The Brave likes to hang with? -- over Eric Plummetaz' chamber cello. It mixes fiery guitar solos by Paco Fernandez who really knows his Flamenco stuff, with Luma Mohamed's seductive lounge vocals. Those trade places with sampled Gitano cries, synth shakuhachi, deep bass pedals and down-tempo Club beats. What you end with is a mandatory entry into the Buddha-Bar field of chill music. Deep? How far will a $10 note get you? I said this album was fun, not an attempt to dethrone Van Gogh. Unless distance and separation made my heart grow fonder, this 5th installment seems to have benefitted from growing maturation and sophistication. It's the kind of thing long-distance jocks cue up in anticipation of serious after-hours overtime work in the bedroom. If you take it slow and pace yourself, you might just make it through the whole album. Now get lost while I practice my stamina. Yeah, it's that kind of an album.