Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band follow up their 2021 Expansions album with another solid 7” offering.
The A side, “Represent,” is one of the stand out tracks from Expansions. BRSB covers the DJ Premier-produced Nas classic, taking the original and expanding the arrangement with guitar and brass riffs. Tuba chugs along the drum break while the steel pans hammer out the famously infectious melody of the original sample making this an easy winner in hip hop circles and beyond.
The B side is a non-album cut available on this 45 for the first time ever. Bacao covers the Mtume classic “Juicy Fruit,” made popular again when The Notorious B.I.G. sampled it for his smash hit “Juicy.” A sure head-turner when people realize they’re dancing along to a new version of the classic melody.
Favorite Recordings proudly presents the new 12″ of Magic Source. The all-star group around producer Björn Wagner (known also for his cosmic and tropical-flavoured disco music as Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band and The Mighty Mocambos) creates here a hypnotic four-on-the-floor sound that is both earthy and spaced out and all their own.
Recorded on 16 track analogue tape with inexpensive vintage gear, the crew explores the more unusual facets of disco music off the beaten track in favour of more otherwordly and international stylings. In their music, one could hear echoes from lost tropical disco records, cinematic flavors from library soundtracks and a healthy dose of DIY garage funk rawness.
On A side, “Riviera Drive” is an extended Mediterranean disco groove based on hypnotic percussions and soulful horn themes that alternate with trippy keyboard excursions. The tune is equally at ease on the dancefloor as in a chill-out zone, but of course, prefers to be in its natural habitat in a classic car somewhere between Nice and Monaco.
On the flip, Tom Tom Club’s “Genius Of Love” is reimagined as a jazzy yacht soul instrumental with an echoed flute taking the lead. You’ll also find a shorter Radio Edit of “Riviera Drive”.
In the wake of their new album Expansions Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band drop another must have two-sider.
On the A side they take on the J DIlla produced Slum Village club banger “Raise It Up” and give it the BRSB treatment. SV fans will lose their shit when this comes on. Heads will be nodding from the first beat of the opening drum break and when they start playing the top line on the pans it’s a wrap. Now that they have your attention they take the tune and expand on it changing the arrangement and lacing it with brass and guitar parts that keep pushing the tune to higher and higher levels of energy.
The B finds BRSB taking on the infamous Galt MacDermot tune “Space”. Made famous in the hip hop world when it was sampled for Busta Rhyme’s classic “Woohah Got You All In Check” it is about to receive another boost from Bacao’s version. Both sides of this 7” are going to be mainstays in DJ sets for years to come.
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, the mysterious steel pan outfit hailing from Hamburg, Germany have amassed a cult following around the globe. With a slew of classic 7”s and two critically acclaimed full length albums, they set a high bar for themselves, one they clearly intend on pushing even higher with this new offering. On their third album, aptly titled “Expansions”, BRSB are back with more of the same, but more of the same with them is inherently different. Covering songs that span genres and range from mega hits to album cuts, they make them their own with their unique approach to the traditional steel pans of Trinidad and Tobago.
Part of the allure of a new record from Bacao is finding out what covers they chose. However, die hard fans are also waiting to hear the original numbers like the stellar album opener “Tough Victory”. Its airtight rhythm section, brass arrangements, and layers of steel pan melodies make the term “cover band” a shoe that could never fit Bacao. Within the next three songs they go from Jazz (Galt MacDermot), to Hip Hop (Slum Village / J Dilla), to a dance floor classic (Grace Jones) taking them all on with their signature style, expanding on the originals. An easy crowd favorite is their gritty, gully, and neck snapping cover of the Timbaland produced Jay-Z club hit “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”. The infamous crushing Bacao drums start the show and the moment they start playing the top line on the pans, all bets are off. Sure to become a dance floor filler is their bottom heavy, four on the floor version of Sylvester’s classic “I Need Somebody To Love Tonight”. They venture into some gutbucket funk with Ike Turner’s “Getting Nasty” and bring the steel pans to Minnie Riperton’s Jazz classic “Les Fleurs”. Digging deeper in the modern canon and paying tribute to a tribute, they cover Erykah Badu’s homage to the late great J Dilla, “The Healer”. This is the type of thing to make Spice Adams jump on his kitchen counter and scream. From the second the beat drops they give the original Madlib production a run for its money, shaking subwoofers with the eerie tremolo bass while the pans play E. Badu’s vocal melodies.
By the time the album is through Bacao has taken the listener on a journey that spans a myriad of energies, tempos, and moods while somehow managing to keep it all under one umbrella. For all that, these songs are alive, and they will be taken out of the context of this album and sewn into the fabric of DJ sets around the globe for many years to come. Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is breathing renewed life into the originals and continuing to push the boundaries of steel pan music, or, as the title suggests, expanding on it.
Dirt Off Your Shoulder b/w I Need Somebody To Love Tonight
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, the kings of “wait, what is this!!!” are back with another two-sider that has a little something for everyone. Both of these songs are pulled from their forthcoming full length album Expansions.
The A side is a gritty, gully, and neck snapping cover of the Timbaland produced Jay-Z club hit “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”. The signature crushing Bacao drums start the show and the moment they start playing the top line on the steel pans all bets are off. They push the tune to new heights and places adding brass arrangements and working around the original riff never losing the groove. The way they walk the line between the original and making it their own will woo Hip Hop heads and Funk enthusiasts alike.
The B side finds BRSB taking it straight to the discoteque and ushering everyone to the floor as they cover Sylvester’s underground classic “I Need Somebody To Love Tonight”. While Bacao have laid down a few four on the floor numbers on previous albums this is the first one making its way to a 7” and we are sure it will get their music into a new sector of DJs playboxes.
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is back with another crushing two-sider that is guaranteed to set dancefloors on fire and get heads nodding around the globe. The mysterious steel pan outfit hailing from Hamburg, Germany has become a staple in DJ sets from Europe to Japan, from the US to Brazil, and anywhere else these tunes have found their way to speakers. They have released a slew of classic 7”s and two critically acclaimed full length albums. With that they have set a high bar for themselves, one clearly they intend on pushing higher with this new offering.
Side A is BRSB’s take on Grace Jones’ nightclub classic “My Jamaican Guy”. They take the tune to a new height from the first beat, laying down an infectious groove that will get people out of their seats immediately. Heavy duty drums and bass shake the speakers through the intro then the pans reveal what they are covering as they play the instantly recognizable top line of the original. Rhythm guitar, heavily echoed percussion hits, and the different pan sets all combine to make this yet another instant classic from Bacao.
In 2019, The Mighty Mocambos returned in fine form with their new album “2066”, played a storming European tour and celebrated a colourful year delivering their own true style of funk, Afro, hip hop with cinematic compositions and storytelling.The mean streets groove and furious drums versus car chase workout of “Golden Shadow” and the joyous instrumental stomper “Preaching To The Choir” were soon identified as DJ favourites. So here they are on glorious golden 7inch vinyl to jumpstart in 2020 with.
By popular demand, Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is back with another must have of a two sider. Two tracks finding their way to vinyl for the first time that were cut during The Serpents Mouth sessions but only made it to the cd and digital release. A lot of people wrote us asking for it, and here it is, a 7 inch release that lives at the intersection of Funk, Soul, and Hip Hop.
The A side is Bacao’s crushing cover of the Jackson 5’s B-Boy classic “Great To Be Here”. A tune that a lot of people proba- bly thought had steel pans on the original version, a miscon- ception that lead to BRSB choosing it for their inimitable treatment. They open the tune with a chunky open drum break that gives way to the steel pan work banging out the infec- tious and instantly recognizable guitar lines from the J5’s version.
The B side finds Bacao diggin deeper into the hip hop crates again and coming up with a monster of a Gang Starr track to cover. Taking on their underground street anthem they cut for their Full Clip compilation, “All 4 Tha Ca$h”. BRSB tease the tune in with the two top notes of the riff for the first 8 bars catching listeners ears and giving the DJs a record to work with. When the whole riff drops and they give away what the tune is they are covering awww shits & ooooooohs are sure to be heard out in the crowd.
“Following up on the massive success of their sophomore full length “The Serpent’s Mouth”, Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is back with another dance floor classic.
Side A is their already infamous cover of Amerie’s smash hit “1 Thing”. Done up in what is now their signature fashion, they take on the break originally lifted from The Meters, and believe it or not….step it up a notch. Steel pans play her infectious vocal melody lines over the raucous and crushing drum track. This will have the dance floor turning to the booth in amazement and wonder as soon as the pans come in. An absolute essential for DJs across the globe.
The B Side, “Hoola Hoop” is a BRSB original tune, the stuff that B Boys dream about…Setting it off with a killer breakbeat intro that drops into pan hits and flute flourishes, never losing the groove and full of energy. They trade off leads from flute to steel pans while running through turnarounds and drum fills building more energy the whole time like a snowball rolling down a mountain headed right for the speakers.”
Following up on the massive worldwide success of their debut album 55, Bacao Rhythm & Steel band is back with another heavy duty offering. Picking up where they left off and incorporating a ton of new recording techniques they take a huge step forward with The Serpent’s Mouth. Named after the eight-mile strait between the island of Trinidad and the coast of Venezuela, The Serpent’s Mouth is a journey through both originals and covers, combining classic elements that wide-eared music fans already know, and mashing them up in new and unique ways.
Take “1 Thing” – on it, the group attacks the galloping, chopped Amerie smash hit, with singing pans that follow the R & B vocal. The sound is crisp and up-front, arguably more muscular than the 2005 original. On “Great To Be Here,” they take on the Jackson 5 B-Boy favorite (which stretches back to the Zulu Nation / Bronx block party days) – uncoincidentally, the original version featured a guitar lick that emulated a steel pan run. Here, it gets an even more pulsating groove, adding open-drums breaks throughout, to get DJs salivating. The group veers through more inventively-constructed covers as the album’s sequence continues, including Gang Starr’s “All For The Cash”; Mary J. Blige’s “I Love You”; and the recently unleashed first single, “XXplosive” and “Burn,” paying tribute to both Dr. Dre and Mobb Deep for a bi-coastal funk party. And, as band leader Bjorn Wagner states, “My favorite cover on the album is probably ‘Crockett Theme,’ which is the theme to ‘Miami Vice.’ I always loved the melody, and the cosmic vibe of the song, and I was honestly surprised that it worked without synthesizers.”
This time around the group’s originals are even stronger, as evidenced by cuts like the flute-fueled break-fest of “Hoola Hoop”; the slow and spacey “Touchdown”; and the album’s title track, the future-epic-adventure-movie-soundtrack cut “The Serpent’s Mouth.” Wagner explains, “I wrote the song with Bernhard Hummer as an instrumental fantasy story – think of pirates, smugglers and a dangerously beautiful sea passage towards the island. It became an allegory for our mind travels into the world of the steel pan.”
The Serpent’s Mouth is sure to please past fans and newly-minted ones alike. It seems like a new era for Steel Drum music is upon us, and Bacao is firmly leading the way into the hearts of music fans around the world. Another Big Crown Records Sureshot…