Malena Perez | Stars
Label: Cubanita Groove
4 out of 5 stars
By Norman Mayers, PrefixMag
Cuban-American songstress Malena Perez debuted on the scene a few years ago with two vinyl releases, and with Stars, her debut artist album, this Latina deftly combines elements of house, jazz, soul and electronica into a strikingly emotional journey. Stars is the epitome of lounge coolness, swimming through its tracks with velvety ease. Wrapped in gauzy beats and bilingual lyrics, Stars takes world music to new heights.
Sade, Amel Larrieux, Jill Scott, Tracey Thorn and Omara Portuondo are just some of the influences Malena Perez calls out with pride on "Cubanita Groove," a track pulsing with Afro-Cuban rhythms. Perez only uses these accomplished artists as a jumping off point, confidently expressing her own musical vision on Stars. From quiet ballads to slinky electronica, Perez draws influence from life itself to create her wide reaching sound. The high points rest in the house and electronic elements with tracks like "Free To Fly" and "Praise the Day" setting the tone with their use of Latin percussion and heavy bass. "Surrender" is a soothing number propelled by a simmering trip-hop groove while "What Do I Do" ventures into drum and bass territory with its stuttering drums and moody atmosphere.
Lyrically Perez illustrates her world music vibe by switching between English and Spanish throughout the album, sometimes within the same track. Her voice is the perfect complement to the understated beats: soft, exotic and enchanting.
In a world where cultures are blending like never before, Malena Perez's Stars is a sign of the times. Stars is truly a melting pot of musical and cultural influences that goes down just right.
released July 11, 2006
Copyright 2006 Cubanita Groove Records
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