A warm debut from Pacifika
Asuncion, the debut from the Vancouver based group, Pacifika is a warm and enticing album. Like many new musical outfits whose influences range beyond the traditional spectrum of pop music, Pacifika’s music is hard to classify and define. Comprised of Sylvia Kane, a singer born in Peru and raised in Canada, Toby Peter, a Barbadian raised bass player who previously toured with K-OS, and Adam Popowitz, a Vancouver guitarist steeped in the disparate tendencies of New Wave and Prog rock riffs, Pacifika has released one of the most quietly alluring collections of the year.
The music that Pacifika created for Asuncion truly sounds like a blending and convergence of each of the player’s influences. Riding on a swirling ambient wave, Kane’s voice gracefully dances between Popowitz’s textured guitar and the insistent bass and hip hop beat established by the kit drum. Danceable, yet totally enjoyable when experienced from the couch, each of the songs on the album is filled with irresistible hooks and melodies that show off the breadth of Pacifika’s musicality and instrumental skills. Taken together, the songs escort the listener on a journey that begins with the gentle grooves of Sol, the rising sun, then travels through a landscape of warm tropical melodies before finishing with Las Olas, an homage to waves and tides that echo the rhythms the album has taken the listener through.
Those who like their music to fall into hard and fast categories are likely to be puzzled by Pacifika. Labeled as Latin techno or Alternative Latin, neither of these descriptions is in any way satisfying. The members of Pacifka, like many other young bands that reflect the multi-ethnic reality of life in modern day North America, are making music that pleases them without regard to classification. Even though Pacifika is lead by a female vocalist, Sylvia Kane is no Britney Spears. On track after track, she demonstrates that there is a lot of room for a woman to make music that is intelligent and erotically charged without cheapening herself in the manner of Mariah Carey or the increasingly embarrassing Madonna. Finally, the sooner listeners learn to experience new music without preconceptions and accept it on its own terms, the more quickly they will be able to appreciate the fascinating new possibilities that bands like Pacifika are opening up.
With Asuncion, this Vancouver band has served notice to older rock and jazz fans like myself that dance music has changed and rather than offering mindless release, the genre is responsible for some of the most interesting and challenging music being put out today.
This post originally appeared at: http://restlessandreal.blogspot.com/2009/05/warm-debut-from-pacifika.html