Tuesday, April 12, 2016

MI CASA-Micasa Music (2011)


My house is your house—here at "The Music Spectrum", anything and everything that pleases my ears is shared with you, my loyal music guests. My continuing dance music adventures tonight sees me returning back to South Africa where I would get formally acquainted with the soul/house group that calls itself MI CASA, a surprise and intriguing recommendation from a special friend native to Johannesburg. MI CASA—a very suitable name for this fine, talented trio, considering that the English translation of this Spanish phrase is—as indicated at the beginning of this post—'my house'. Mo-T, J'Something and Dr. Duda—those are the monikers of the group's trumpeter, lead singer and producer, respectively, and I better get used to writing that, because they'll for sure be getting a lot more of my attention following the hour plus adventure I enjoyed tuning in to their debut album, "Micasa Music". It was practically a non-stop disco LP, as just about every one of the fourteen songs averages from five to six minutes long and is chock full of extended beats and instrumental grooves to keep the dance rhythms flowing. Of course, I was enamored by Mo-T's spurts of trumpet bliss all throughout (sometimes the trumpet is just as sexy as the saxophone) and the chilled, smooth grooves crafted by keyboard extraordinaire Dr. Duda. But then that third element of the rich, soulicious vocals of lead man J'Something—well, it's something amazing if you ask me! After stepping into their world on "These Streets", I was all locked in and did not want to leave, even if just to out down the headphones to check on something I had cooking on my stove! From that moment forward, I found so many reasons to love every song thereafter. "I'll Be There For You" reminds me of something right out of the 90's acid jazz era, its hazy, day-dreamy melody and comforting lyrics of 'I'll be there when you need me too' is one that I can bask in all night long. "La Vida" is one of the more original offerings. Being performed entirely in Spanish is one of its attractive elements; the combination of the trumpet, Spanish guitar and keyboard elegance beneath the warming uptempo groove makes it a festive affair! "My Oh My"—my, what a great jam we have here! Instantly loved the old-school sounding synthesized arrangement, which reminds me of Miquel Brown's "So Many Men, So Little Time". AND jazzed up? While J'Something sings about that special girl that's got him saying 'my oh my', the music here had me saying 'I need a remix of that one!'. And perhaps I very well shall find one... Then that celebratory rap break midway through—adds a fun flavor and showcases their collective talents even more! Praises are in order for their performance of "All The Glory", a religious-themed tune that respectfully tributes Our Creator. I just love how it sounds with the misty melody and all, plus the collective soulful vocals chanting the title lyrics with J'Something shining all throughout with his lofty, mighty chords soaring to the high heavens! Nothing changed my feelings at all about J's singing ability "Change My Life". He demonstrates his best vocal performance on this one, showing off a stylized swag that brings to mind those old-school soul legends from the 70's. Seems I can never embark on a music adventure without encountering at least one unexpected surprise. This time, it's their dance remake of the Sade classic, "Smooth Operator", which is another of my all-time favorite songs from the 80's. And much of you in my circles already know how thrilled I get when memorable hits from my childhood get the updated dance reworking bestowed upon them! Sade would be impressed, though I will admit it does take a bit of getting used to a different voice singing the familiar lyrics with a distinctively electronic rhythm driving the song along. There were so many touching moments of romantic beauty during this adventure—"Heavenly Sent", "Give You Love", "Across The Room", "Fly Away", "That Man" (now that one's also a favorite of mine, being the festive dance jam that it is with Mo-T's putting on a fabulous trumpet display yet again)—but the most beautiful romantic moment of them all would have to be the concluding cut itself. The beats purposely slow down, I suspect, so that the smooth mid-tempo can calm the senses and set the mood for four minutes of heart-melting magic. I'm so happy to have been invited to this house party, and I look forward to being this trio's guest again for the next one that they throw:

1. These Streets
2. I'll Be There For You
3. La Vida
4. Heavenly Sent
5. My Oh My
6. Give You Love
7. All The Glory
8. Smooth Operator
9. Across The Room
10. Fly Away
11. Be The One
12. Change My Life
13. That Man
14. Beautiful

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