Review Captain Planet – Cookin’ Gumbo


DJs frequently have two fundamental urges in constant conflict. The first is their natural tendency to want to bring new music to people, the second, their slightly miserly tendency to withhold the identities of their best tunes from others so as to have those ‘special’ tunes in their sets that no-one else does. Captain Planet has been the source of a great number of my ‘special’ tunes over the last few years so it’s with great pleasure that I can now become a nice DJ and recommend them to you, now they are all wrapped up in one LP.

Captain Planet aka Charlie Wilder, first emerged back in 2005 with the release of the Gumbo Funk EP. Long before the current vogue for Tropicalia and Balkan beats this EP stood out for being a weird fusion of exotic latin sounds, funky breakbeats and Eastern melodies. Then no more was heard for three or four years ’til he re-emerged with the Speakin NuYorican EP which was one of the best collections of funk, latin, afro breakbeat tracks ever to grace one EP. Now finally the tracks from this EP, along with several new ones and remakes of material from the Gumbo Funk EP are available as the Cookin’ Gumbo LP. It kicks off with a brand new statement of intent – the sublime sitar drenched breakbeat weirdout of “Ram Ad Aninfinitum”. A couple of years back an irresistibly cheeky samba bossa bootleg of Erykah Badu’s “Cleva” did the rounds from CP. It reappears here but this time featuring guest singer Brit Lauren singing an original piece over the same Brazilian theme.

“Fumando” was one of the highlights of the Speakin Nuyorican EP, an afro jazz D&B workout with a very Quantic feel to the horns. Over the course of the rest of the album highlights include the blistering latin breakbeat of “Speakin Nuyorican” and “Dame Agua”, more afro-breakbeat stylings with “Lagos Speedway” and “On Yer Feet” and the more downbeat future soul sound of “Baby Don’t Burn”. The only weak point for me is the last track “One for Japan” which is heavy and dragging compared to the rest of the LP. All in all a must for lovers of globally influenced dance music and a very strong first LP from Captain Planet.

Cookin’ Gumbo is available now on Bastard Jazz Recordings

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