Review: Renato Cohen, Sixteen Billion Drum Kicks
Renato Cohen is a DJ and music producer working out of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He achieved international recognition with his track “Pontape” released in 2002. Sixteen Billion Drum Kicks is his first album. I came to the CD by way of loving what Danny Howells did with Cohen’s track “Magica” on his Renaissance The Mix Collection. Howells used “Magica” as the climax of his mix, Cohen opens Sixteen Billion Drum Kicks with it. Either way, it’s a good track.
For the most part Sixteen Billion Drum Kicks is a fairly straightforward collection of club oriented dance tracks that are competently produced. However, Cohen steps away from the routine in some unexpected directions. Instead of including his major hit “Pontape” on the CD, Cohen gives us “Pontape Jazz” which is a reworking of the track by the jazz trio New Samba Jazz supplemented by a horn section that includes Bocato, a well know Brazilian trombone player. Although the track would be fairly unexceptional on a samba-influenced jazz album, it’s completely unexpected here and it works very well. If Cohen can open the ears of dance music listeners and club goers to a melding of electronic dance music with jazz sensibilities and instrumentation he would be doing everyone an enormous favor.
Another track that takes an unexpected direction is “Cosmic Man” which opens with four quick chords that sound like we’re about to hear a run-of-the-mill disco track and then drops into a driving rhythmic vocal provided by Marku Ribas who is revered in Brazil as a samba-rock vocalist.
While Sixteen Billion Drum Kicks may not be widely cited as an album of the year contender, the straight-ahead dance tracks are well done and the tracks where Cohen tries something different are worth repeated listens.
“Cosmic Man” featuring Marku Ribas from Sixteen Billion Drum Kicks
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