Album Review: Dave Aju - Heirlooms


Mon, May 07, 2012  
Delivering an adventurous and engaging album, with "Heirlooms" Dave Aju taps into his roots and musical background.


Crafted with vintage recordings and instruments inherited from his late father, Dave Aju taps into his roots and musical background offering a journey through past and present influences.

After the 2008 release of Open Wide (constructed out of the sampled sounds of the artist’s mouth), Bay Area native Dave Aju (aka Marc Barrite) presents his sophomore album Heirlooms on Circus Company Records. Compared to the digital quirkiness of Open Wide, Heirlooms is a warm and melodic album with plenty references to musical history.

The electro boogie of Caller #7 (with vocals by dOP’s Jaw) and Ms. Reposado (with label mate Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts on percussion) emulate 80’s funk. The swinging You Gotta Know would have been a favorite street party anthem of the era. Brown & Blue (featuring the Sol Percussion Ensemble) connects the dots between Bossa Nova and contemporary electronic artistry. And Until Then is a cool, jazzy mid-tempo track which could have been written by Roy Ayers.

There are two long tracks on the album: To Be Free is a slow-burning track built around an aquatic acid line. The track meanders on for 10+ minutes without drastic changes but it’s effective tool to lift a DJ set to a different level. Revealing harks back to the best of cosmic jazz with its soulful organ-led vocals, a hypnotic highlight of the album!

A slight point of critique are the vocals which sometimes sound just slightly too deadpan to me (but that’s a question of personal taste). It should be noted that this takes nothing away from the fact Heirlooms is an adventurous and engaging album which probably stems from a versatile musical upbringing.

8/10 – Patrice Knap

Tracklisting and player next page

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