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How do you like your salsa?
Jose Conde y Ola Fresca serve it a number of ways on "(R)evolucion."
Conde, an American brought up in Miami by his Cuban-born parents, has done his time with traditional Cuban music (including 2004's "Ay! Que Rico") and now pursues an alternative-Latin style that slices and dices salsa with other ingredients.
But those who rush to wikipedia to look up these terms are totally missing Conde's point: "(R)Evolucion" is about freedom from definition.
"(R)Evolucion" is a broad international experience, too, featuring an hypnotic New Orleans/funk "Oshiri Pan Pan” that fuses Japanese and Spanish lyrics and a whimsically surreal Haitian compass/son "Pititi y Titi" that is offered in both French and Spanish versions.
Tantalizing rhythms lead "(R)Evolucion" whether driven by percussive mayhem or mellow cadence, and character generally comes in the form of savory horns and Conde's charismatic vocals. Sometimes the flow's a little too easygoing, making the longer songs feel overextended, and the track "Despelote" shifts tone so often it becomes an awkward experiment in aural anarchy.
However, the unpredictability of the release and its vivacious spirit ultimately win out. 07/10/07