Street Signs

Street Signs

4.8 13
by Ozomatli
     
 

With artists as self-consciously polymorphous as Ozomatli -- descriptions of the group usually bear more hyphens than there are band members -- songs can easily devolve into genre exercises. The L.A. nonet were guilty of just that on their first two albums, carefully repping each far-flung constituency -- hip-hoppers, Chicanos, salseros, funksters, turntablists, and… See more details below

Overview

With artists as self-consciously polymorphous as Ozomatli -- descriptions of the group usually bear more hyphens than there are band members -- songs can easily devolve into genre exercises. The L.A. nonet were guilty of just that on their first two albums, carefully repping each far-flung constituency -- hip-hoppers, Chicanos, salseros, funksters, turntablists, and then some -- in their multicultural vibe. Finally, with the third try, Ozo get it oh-so-right and achieve the suppleness and grace of their stylistic forebears War and Mandrill. (After all, those '70s Latin rock bands were just as musically and ethnically diverse without writing songs about it.) Street Signs shows a band that's shed their puppy-dog need to impress, and that focus is beneficial throughout. The focus of the title track -- sampled piano licks quoting the salsa classic "El Preso," handclaps, and hip-hop beats -- get the job done, delivering a solid progressive rap winner. The closer, "Cuando Canto," is an old-school, harmony-laden ballad that soars with unabashed love for East L.A. "brown-eyed soul." Even as the arrangements get more ambitious, as on the opener, "Believe," which matches Arabic strings with dancehall rhythms and psychedelic guitar, Ozo keep the emphasis on the songs. That's the most rewarding development on Street Signs: the band deliver their radical politics with fervor and clarity, especially on the searing "(Who Discovered) America?" and "Who's to Blame," featuring Jurassic 5 rapper Chali 2na. Guests ranging from piano maestro Eddie Palmieri to Los Lobos' David Hidalgo to turntablist (and Ozo founder) Cut Chemist sweeten the pot, but the real spice comes from Ozomatli themselves on this powerfully realized statement.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Los Angeles-based Ozomatli are a new kind of American band, a band reflecting the multiracial and multicultural One World demographics of the 21st century. Drawing on musical sources as diverse as salsa, hip-hop, rock, jazz, funk, Tejano, and reggae, Ozomatli appear to be trying to be all things to all people, but amazingly, they pull it off more times than they don't, and even when their increasingly inclusive experiments fall short, they still manage to offer up new creative possibilities. With the release of Street Signs you can add Middle Eastern music to the mix, and once again, the sheer number of ingredients they manage to pack into their sound is impressive, beginning with "Believe," the album opener, which should be all over pop radio with its full, deep, and anthemic sound (that it isn't all over the radio says a lot more about the current state of radio than it does Ozomatli). "Te Estou Buscando" and "Saturday Night" are also impressive, but the real highlight here is the appearance of legendary jazz and salsa pianist Eddie Palmieri on two tracks, the brief and lovely "Dona Isabelle" and "Nadie Te Tira," a blast of horn-drenched salsa that underscores an obvious point about Ozomatli: aside from their considerable cultural, political, and musical import, this is one hell of a dance band.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/22/2004
Label:
Concord Records
UPC:
0013431220022
catalogNumber:
2200
Rank:
105940

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ozomatli   Primary Artist
Hassan Hakmoun   Vocals
David Hidalgo   Requinto,Jarocho Harp
Eddie Palmieri   Piano
Greg Poree   Acoustic Guitar
KC Porter   Hammond Organ
Paul Livingston   Sitar
Yeux Noirs   Strings
Ulises Bella   Keyboards,Saxophone,Background Vocals,Melodica,Requinto,Group Member
Cut Chemist   Turntables
Asdrubal Sierra   Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Trumpet,Vocals,Group Member
Mario Calire   Drums,Group Member
Walter Miranda   Piano
Sheffer Bruton   Trombone,Group Member
Wil-Dog Abers   Background Vocals,Group Member
Raúl Pacheco   Guitar,Vocals,Jarana,Tres,Group Member
Justin "El Niño" Porée   Percussion,Rap,Group Member
Chali 2na   Rap
Jiro Yamaguchi   Percussion,Tabla,Background Vocals,Group Member
DJ Spinobi   Turntables,Group Member
Forte Music City Of Prague Orchestra   Strings
Jabu   Master of Ceremonies

Technical Credits

John Burk   Executive Producer
Eddie Palmieri   Composer
Anton Pukshansky   Engineer
Jason Roberts   Programming,Producer
Bob Salcedo   Engineer
Serban Ghenea   Remixing
T-Ray   Producer
KC Porter   Composer,Producer
Robert Carranza   Engineer
Ozomatli   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Remixing
Asdrubal Sierra   Composer
Ken Takahashi   Engineer
Wil-Dog Abers   Orchestral Arrangements,Percussion Arrangement
Andy Mendoza   Composer
Justin "El Niño" Porée   Remixing
Chali 2na   Producer
Jiro Yamaguchi   Orchestral Arrangements,Percussion Arrangement
JB Eckl   Composer
John Hanes   Remixing
Seth Presant   Engineer
Christopher Lennertz   Orchestral Arrangements
Daniel "Blaxxx" Lewis   Producer
Beatle Bob   Introduction
Don Corleon   Composer,Producer

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