Review Atropolis – Transitions

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Atropolis‘ debut album Transitions is the debut release from New York’s established tropical-bass collective Cumba Mela. Run by producers/DJs Atropolis, Thornato and 2Melo, for over three years the club night and production collective have been at the forefront of the tropical bass movement, pushing the mutations between global styles and rhythms with club sounds. Atropolis’ 12 track album fits into this manifesto: a worldwide mashup of low-end bass, electronica and folk styles.

Listening to Transitions feels like being transported straight to the Cumbia Mela dancefloor, as it switches between sweet, sun kissed tropical-pop gems such as “Reza Por Mi” to heavy cuts of tropical bass for the heat of the party like “Realizations” and “Pomporaso”. The album features collaborations with a number of familiar names from the scene such as Boogat and Lido Pimienta alongside homegrown talent like Carol C who provides vocals on the album’s first single, the catchy “Which Way to Go”.

Though holding an international outlook, Transitions is heavily influenced by Latin American, and notably, Colombian styles and rhythms. “Una Mezcla Costeña”, one of the album’s standout tracks, twists a flute led gaita into a booming, grooving piece that epitomises Cumbia Mela’s musical outlook. “El Pacifico”, on the other hand, is a percussion heavy, swaggering interpretation of Afro-Colombian music from the pacific coast. Perhaps the one criticism to be levelled at Transitions is its lack of variation, tracks like “Unsure” and “Urban Chief” are a bit too “tropical bass by numbers” to stand out from the crowd.

Whilst Cumbia Mela’s first release may not be groundbreaking, its quality production and eye for the dancefloor mean this will be a welcome addition to the urban / tropical canon and it provides ample hip-shaking ammunition for transcultural DJs from New York to Buenos Aires.

Transitions is available from Amazon and iTunes


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