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Year’s Best: Okayplayer’s Top 12 LPs Of 2012

Year’s Best: Okayplayer’s Top 12 LPs Of 2012

Okayplayer top 12 albums of 2012

Cover art for Look Around the Corner by Quantic & Alice Russell w/ the Combo Bárbaro

11. Quantic & Alice Russell w/ Combo Barbaro – Look Around The Corner
If Look Around The Corner feels like a joyful reunion, it is. Not only between Quantic & Alice Russell, who collaborated years ago on songs for the Quantic Soul Orchestra, before the prolific producer/arranger defected to Colombia. It is also a reunion of sorts between the distant cousins of American soul and the various strains Afro-latin music represented here by the members of Latin American supergroup Combo Barbaro. Though more focused on expression–and musical expertise–than experimentation, the resulting set often feels like a classic soul album that has been reclaimed not only from a lost decade but a lost continent as well. On original compositions as well as covers, Look Around The Corner poses–and satisfyingly answers–the question of what would happen if the luminaries of Motown and their contemporaries in salsa or tropicalia had actually gone into the studio together instead of just studying each other’s licks. Imagine a duet between Marvin Gaye and Caetano Veloso on one hand, or Minnie Ripperton and Ismael Rivera on another, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect in both sound and quality. Though the lead singles “Look Around The Corner” and “I’ll Keep My Light In My Window” (originally recorded by Gaye and Diana Ross) have drawn the lion’s share of attention–and rightly refocused the spotlight on Alice Russell’s awe-inspiring vocal prowess–the instrumentals are equally revelatory.In fact, one of the best things about this record is that having identified a rather specific approach, the gathered company feels free to stretch out and explore different moods and directions within their lost continent, from the Nuyorican dance number “Boogaloo 33” to the Stevie Wonder-ish pop chestnut “Magdalena” to the cumbia/chicha instrumental “Road To Islay” to the perfect polyrhythmic rhythm & blues of “Travelling Song” (below).

>>>Purchase Look Around The Corner on iTunes

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