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Contra Ville Goes ‘Electric Eclectic’ With New Album

In Music

People like to throw the word ‚”eclectic‚” around to describe many a band, but in the case of locals Contra Ville, I can think of no better word. Apparently, neither can they. Their new album, to be released at their show on Nov. 17 at SLG Art Boutiki, is called Electric Eclectic, which pretty much says it all.

Contra Ville won the award for best jazz band at Metro‘s recent SVSX awards, and jazz is definitely a major component of their sound, but so are indie rock, hip-hop, blues and world beat. The band’s earlier recordings tended to pull more from jazz fusion (in the vein of Weather Report and Return to Forever), but Electric Eclectic also takes a lot of inspiration from early swing jazz, evident on opening track “Bombastic Child,” the heavier “Before” and the toe-tapping “Honey” But these aren’t strictly swing songs; they are as stylistically mixed as anything Contra Ville has ever released.

A highlight to Contra Ville albums and shows is their frequent collaboration with local alternative rapper Lucid Optics. On his own recordings, Lucid Optics deploys a wide range of samples and backing instrumentation; when he joins forces with Contra Ville, that tactic makes for some downright unusual rap.

“Sand” opens with several minutes of Beach Boys-like vocal soundscapes, which are as natural for Lucid Optics to rap over as old school boom-bam beats are for other rappers. A special treat for longtime Contra Ville fans is an actual studio recording of the eerie “Contra Villains,” which has served as a sort of theme song for the band. The prior album contained a live recording of the song, but the studio version really captures the nuances. It is the perfect example of what is so great about Contra Ville. They seamlessly meld components like a driving piano part, jazz undertones, tribal rock & roll rhythms, offbeat vocals and a David Bowie reference.

Art Boutiki
Saturday, Nov 17, 7pm; $10

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