Better known as one of the three founders of Spain’s superb Radio Tarifa, it’s taken vocalist Benjamin Escoriza a bit of time to break out on his own. That said, Alevanta! is more than a fair showing, featuring throughout the blend of flamenco and North African music that made the Tarifa trio so essential.
The main difference here is that this album is very much Escoriza’s own work. Its ambience is a more raw sound than the cool pop of Radio Tarifa: accordion, stampings, clappings, grated guitar strings, all give Alevanta! its own sound. And even though old cohorts, headed by Tarifa’s Vincent Molino and augmented by producer Juan Alberto Arteche, are present, this album carves out its own idea of Spanish-Moorish-Andalucian fusion. And, importantly, its light production allows the moods to come through. Escoriza goes to town on ‘Talismán’, with its grainy, throaty vocals and wild flamenco, whereas the microtonal woodwind swoops of ‘El Cebollón’ somehow conjure up a vision of a procession dancing through Spain and over the sea to Morocco. Noted dance music producer Paul Borg delivers up remixes for a handful of Alevanta!’s 11 tracks, chief among them ‘Carambola’, which patters out an airy introduction to the album.