Personally, I go on record predicting another Grammy for Snarky Puppy for this great, first studio (no live audience) disc from my favs in about 5 years. It’s been on rotation in my car’s CD changer for 6 months now and is my standard drive time disc. My personal favorites are proably Big Ugly, Palermo (from my friend Marcelo Woloski), Semente, Tarova and The Simple Life. Shit – that’s half the disc -and sometimes the other half hits me just as hard.
Driving back from a show the other night (Earphunk), I had this on and I realized that contrary to the music being the background soundtrack to my life, I had the revelation that my life was the background to the music. My life was playing on top of the music which is hard to explain but I will search for better words the next time I have that experience.
Listen to “Big Ugly” here
I asked my buddy Justin Melotte if I could post his feelings on Culcha Vulcha which he wrote in May 2016 shortly after the album release. Here’s his take –
I’ve had a few most excellent friends ask for my opinion on Snarky Puppy‘s latest release, Culcha Vulcha… I couldn’t just say, “It’s good.” I listened to it about 12 times and wrote all of this in a stream of consciousness while listening to the album. Here’s my thoughts on the album… It’s hardly a review…
Tarova- killer swing and bop to it. love the organ as always. horn melodies have this 60’s Miami/Cubano feel. Diggin. Drives into hard minor groove for wicked synth solo. Orchestral power melody come together before hitting the head to the outro. Very well done opening track — leaves you grasping for another track. Nice Medeski nod on the outro line.. Very shack man-esque.
Semente: Flute showcase is obviously awesome. I love the piano progression in first verse. Simple, but powerful. Call and response with the horns is super playful, Def diggin that. Super long main horn melodies are ultra-dope. Lovin the percussion breakdowns. Bet those will be sick live. The horn melodies towards end play beautifully atop the piano progression mentioned earlier. Simple key changes maintain listener interest. Love the spacey outro/transition. Very Sylva like.
Gemini: Dirty 70’s Chicago dive jam (heroin edition). Down beat minor feel with spacial hope. Sounds like Bob on slide. I like the slowing of the pace. Helps to make the album as a whole more dynamic. Track builds strength linearly from beginning and provides nice chord changes off into infinity. Nice concept. It’s like hopeless to hopeful from start to finish. I like the production on the outro, whatever style you wanna call it.
Grown Folks: Funk/Jazz at its finest. Straight attitude. Gonna be a killer live one. Love the solo segue and Bullock’s nutzo effects sax. Production on the bridge is some straight mid 90’s Batman Forever soundtrack shit. Fuck yeah. All about it. The creepy “thriller” organ totally adds to the stank nastiness. Hard stank
Beep Box : Lucid jazz cafe Paris space cadet floater. Squeezy synth compression with squatty fat snare 80’s vibe towards end. Good listener break.
GØ: Latin swing drive. Horns singing on top. synth strings add wonderful dimension. Very opus like into synth key solo. Sounds like Shaun — Cory would be a little more “crisp”. This is a really nice big orchestration, BUT… honestly it’s not that moving… to me. BUT… I’m spoiled.
The Simple Life: This is a teaser… this track is gonna be WILD live. Bob’s gonna go nutz on the slide.
Palermo: Soft pilllowy cloud of a tune. Adds to the softer dynamic of the album. Kind of just floats on by.
Big Ugly: Deep Groove. The synth melodies are massive and engaging Holy Moog Solo BATMAN!!! This track is one big ball of happy sunshine, and I love it.
Jefe: Twangy lil bopper of a tune. Prob Mark chicken picken. This song sounds like New Orleans Bar-b-Que sauce. The GOOD kind. The middle Jan/Marks solo is my theme song for walking down the streets of downtown New York circa 1982. Dirty.