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Martin Solveig Sur La Terre Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

The man behind this year's disco powered, club smasher 'Rocking Music' releases his...

Jack Smith 2004

Those expecting to hear an album resembling the disco pastiche of the recent chart topping club smash, "Rocking Music", may be a little surprised by Martin Solveig's varied debut long-player.

Granted, the follow-up single, "I'm A Good Man", with a vocal that oozes of the rawness of James Brown, is equally laced with funky retro Hammond organ riffs, and should maintain his support from within the club market. That said, the balance of the album is largely comprised of Afro-rhythms, Latin-grooves and rich world music influences aimed at an existing fan-base from which Solveig carved his earlier recording career.

This is typified on tracks like "Mr President" and "Madan" - numbers ripened by the sounds and flavours of the African continent; the latter also featuring the musicianship of Salif Keita - widely credited as the creator of Afro-beat, of which, Martin is clearly a fan. Even the French lyrics of "Linda" cannot mask comparisons of Hugh Masekela in his prime.

Sur La Terre (On The Earth) is also a retrospective of the Frenchman's work to date and a fusion of his many varied influences. From the Eartha Kitt-sounding earthy vibe of "On My Mind" to the bass-heavy spoken Afro-beater "Heart Of Africa" (complete with soaring sax accompaniment), and the chilled sun-kissed smooth jazz of the title-track.

Still in his twenties, Sur La Terre is a particularly mature album, showcasing Martin Solveig's ability to juggle from the disco-pop of his recent success, to the complex and intoxicating rhythms of the third world. And, whilst some may be a little disappointed that it's not geared towards the former blueprint created by "Rocking Music", this album is all the richer for that. Recommended.

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