It’s a late entry, but you might want to clear some room on your summer 2016 playlists for a new EP from the Orlando, FL-based Puerto Rican producer El Bles titled I Am Latin Soul. True to its name, the record celebrates classic ’60s Latin soul music—think boogaloo or Fania Records artists—through playful sampling and a filled-out low end. Caribbean claves get broken up by throwback turntable sound effects; timbales are overtaken by booming bass. Good times abound.
El Bles both samples and name-checks the Fania Records percussionist Ray Barretto in the press release for the EP and it’s easy to draw parallels between the two Puerto Rican artists. Although his background was in jazz, playing for labels like Blue Note early in his career, Barretto explored melding Latin music with the rhythm & blues of the 1960s. Likewise El Bles is creating a common ground behind the traditional and current-day pop. In an email interview with Fader, Barretto said he “found a particular voice through this piece of [Barretto’s] music and felt a responsibility to reintroduce it in a fun, modernized way but without it losing its soul.”
Tonight, Sept. 2 at 8 p.m., fans can join El-Bles for a release party that will include an open-mic night, jam session and art show at Arte Borikua Cultura Viva gallery in Orlando.