Zero dB – Bongos, Bleeps & Basslines
Zero dB are Chris Vogado and Neil Combstock, a hard-jazz/electro/latin/hip-hop/house duo signed to Ninja Tune. This summer they bring us their new album; Bongos, Bleeps & Basslines. I've heard a rough version of the album, and I want to give you the low-down…
The album consists of nine tracks that span a total of just under one hour. The first track is latin to the core, but with an added electro kick to it, perhaps reminiscent of a more progressive Mr. Scruff track. Funky as hell and definitely one for the dance floor. Might catch those cheeky Brazilians grooving to this one in Germany for that little football tournament they're having very soon! This track is over seven minutes long, but feels a lot shorter, probably cos I was too busy grooving in my chair to realise where the time had gone.
Track two has a real lounge jazz intro that generates in to a smooth hip-hop beat driven track. I was half expecting to hear a chilled emcee to kick in, and that's exactly what happened. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm not sure off the top of my head who the emcee is, but it sounds a bit like Jean Grae. This track is excellent, like a more down-tempo People Under The Stairs kind of track. I can just imagine chilling in the sun listening to this. Definitely a track that will be repeated a few times this week – I have to share this one…
Zero dB – Anything's Possible
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The third track is another jazzy track, but with deep-bass undertones. It's like a modern day swing track! Electro-jazz-swing! Once again… funky as hell. That just about describes this track – although you really have to be a bit of an electro fan to appreciate it, otherwise it could get a bit repetitive. Overall, a nice progressive electro/swing track with a thumping beat.
The fourth track is an eerie latin track with a kind of Lalo Schifrin feel to it. The track breaks down in to a hectic flurry of funky jazz, whilst maintaining the very latin-carnival feel. I'd expect to hear this track used at a crucial action point in a film! Further in to the track some female vocals enter the game – reminded me a bit of some of the earlier Basement Jaxx stuff.
Track number five is the shortest track of the album, but still nearly five minutes long – says something bout the consistent length of the tracks provided on this release. The track is a funky electro-jazz track with a male emcee doing what he does over the top. It works really well – like the funkiest, yet least aggressive, hip-hop track you could imagine.
The sixth track is a definite dance track going on right here, but with a heavy dose of jazz. As seems to be the trend with this album, the sound is very progressive and very funky. Big samba feel to this track too, and loads of brass samples – will really get your head nodding and your feet tapping.
The seventh track on the album presents a slightly more breakbeat feel to add to the proceedings. Those latin sounds are still there, and even some cow-bells, but the beat albeit jazzy is a definite breaks style – just a tad more on the ambient side of things. Then enter the samba vocals. Works extremely well – samba, jazz, and breakbeat – funky as expected.
Track eight is perhaps the most cinematic of all the tracks on this album. I can sense elements of Mr. Scruff, Fingathing, and Morcheeba, in this one. It's a truly beautiful track, so elegant, yet so funky… but chilling. It's as if Zero dB deliberately create contradictions in genres; a funky lounge song that is both uplifting and chilling. I find this very appealing. This diamond of a track is just over nine minutes long and I love every second of it – from the smooth vocals to the brass solos, class.
The ninth and final track of this album concentrates more on electro and latin, creating a real dancefloor-filling sort of electro-samba number. Try to think what it would sound like if you merged Basement Jaxx, Diplo, and the Rio Carnival… or just listen to this track, no doubt the results would be similar.
I've left out the track names as they are no doubt subject to change before or upon final release, but I just wanted to give you a semi-detailed summary of what to expect. I'm eagerly awaiting the final release of this album for sure – the guys have really struck gold with their unique blend of latin, jazz, and electro. Be sure to check out their MySpace page for more tasty treats.