Title: The New Art of Urban Flamenco
Artist: Eric Kamen
Release Date: 2015 Jan 08
Genre: Flamenco / World
License: CC BY-NC-SA
With the opening of Santorini Sunrise you know that Eric Kamen: The New Art of Urban Flamenco is not the flamenco of Pablo Casares or Paco de Lucia. The fusion of Indian Sitar with Flamenco guitar style is a surprise to say the least.
Eric Kamen: The New Art of Urban Flamenco
And it is the surprising twists and turns of setting that this release takes that will thrill those who are interested into more worldly fusions of music, but may also put off purists a bit (although, I hope, not too many as this release really has quite a bit to offer).
Throughout the twenty tracks on this new release, Kamen undertakes the exploration of flamenco within many different settings. Take, for example, the fusion of Cuban music with Flamenco on Dream of Cuba, or the fusion of Japanese Koto wiith Flamenco style on Haiku. And then there’s the standout track: Tango De Zorro, with (you guessed it) Tango influences, but also (you didn’t guess it) a pop-rock style piano riff.
Now, Eric Kamen is a magnificent Flamenco guitarist. His past releases have proven his mastery of the Flamenco style, and he could have probably just kept his solid reputation as Flamenco guitarist. But, real artists have visions and take risks in bringing their visions to life and bringing them to the world at large.
But, with taking that risk, artists also frequently find themselves stretching possibly a bit too far. For example, Beads of Sweat would be an excellent track. An almost hip-hop inspired fusion of Flamenco and electronics, except for one issue. The issues is that they keyboard(s) sound like they belong back in the 1980’s. A similar problem extends itself to Meant 2 B, with keyboards that sound like they are from the 80’s, instead of reflecting the current standard that we are accustomed to hearing these days.
But, a few small issues like keyboard sounds doesn’t take away from the whole experience of this release. The title alone suggests that this is a new approach: the Urban Flamenco is based on a fusion of the cultures and music that Eric Kamen is contact with on a regular basis. Fusing his love of Flamenco with the influences that he likely hears all around him brings this release into a new dimension that should be heard.
This is a release that grabbed my attention from it’s opening. It’s not the typical Flamenco guitar style release. Fusing hip-hop, Japanese Koto, Indian Sitar, reggae and many other styles of music with Flamenco is something that, while it may have been tried before, but generally has been done as a gimmick. That isn’t the case with this release. Eric Kamen has reached out to the world around him, and found music that inspires him and fills the world and fused it with his vision. This really is a new art.