Neo-Soul, Hip Hop, Jazz, Blues, Latin
Forgotten Sol - Contradiction
by Jon Minners
I am a firm believer that Myspace is going to change the world. Forget about all the negative hype you hear on the news. They are just looking for controversial stories and often ignore the positives that sometimes go along with it. I knowÖIím a hard news journalist. Itís what we do. Thank God for my side gig. For every bad thing you can say about Myspace, there are 100 positive things to add. Myspace is changing the way we listen to music and it is finally opening up our world to great songs by wonderful artists, who for whatever reason canít crack the Clear Channel monopolized market.
I discovered Forgotten Sol through Myspace. You can check out their page at www.myspace.com/ForgottenSol. While turning the dial on my radio, I donít hear the blues; I donít hear much jazz; I donít get much soul on my radio. So, it is very important to look for it and if you look hard enough you will find it. And that is how I found this treasure.
Forgotten Sol was initially a duo, but has since become a six-piece band touring the Seattle scene. The group is led by a fellow New Yorker, Cristina Orbe, who provides an authentic alto voice to the music on the groupís latest release Contradiction. A great voice is only made better by the band that supports her. Filling out the pieces of the puzzle are guitarist Dan Moore, bassist Keith Judelman, drummer Chris Stromquist along with SoulChilde, who provides the integral harmonies to the melodies that make for the best soul sound I have ever heard.
You can say that Forgotten Sol comes from that conscious style that has made such artists as Common, Erykah Badu, India Arie and John Legend the stars they are today, but that would be just a mainstream mavenís way of trying to identify this music with a relevant sound. In all honesty, I canít really describe the style of Forgotten Sol. Itís like walking into a club and listening to some spoken word poetry. Everyone offers their own unique voice and separately, the artists are great, but together, it is an experience like no other.
Thatís what I can say about Contradiction. You take a little Hip Hop, put it together with R&B, a little Latin, some Jazz, some spoken word harmony, the Blues and some soul and you have an eclectic CD where each song captures your attention, leaving you nodding your head, vibing to the beat, and just enjoying yourself. As a whole, the CD just relaxes you. It tells you a story. It gets your creative juices flowing and makes you open your eyes to the world.
Take Solace, which is my favorite song on this CD. Orbe has a beautiful flow when she discusses a scene near and dear to my heart, since I am from New York. "Town name New York, New York / Man reaching in his pocket / Gets shot 41 times / Didnít find a weapon on the body this time." We then get the harmonized chorusÖAinít no solace for the family, which is repeated several times before Orbe hits us with some raw, heartfelt emotion, with a Hip Hop, hardcore spoken word vibeÖ"I just wanna trust the ones that are here to protect me / I run because of who you shot down donít want you to get me." And then we get the rap from MC Gatsby, of Cancer Rising. "LAPD killed a friend of mine in 91 / And you can best believe that they didnít find a gun / They beat him like a dog in the middle of the street / About four months before they did it to Rodney King / No videotape, no pity or breaks / Except two clubs that broke when they was hittiní his legs."
I will say that police do get a bad rap for the crimes of some of their brethren. I deal with police on a daily basis, but these events happened. They brought about a pain in others and Forgotten Sol puts it out there in one song that just has so many different layers to it; and they all blend perfectly together to create a song you may never hear on the radio, but you will want to play over and over again all the same.
Thatís what I like about this band. They never once compromise their beliefs and never once forgo one sound for another, instead bridging the gap between different sounds and ideas to just make great music.
And if you love spoken word, check out Labyrinth. There are so many other great songs, dealing with infatuation, racial identity and other topics anyone and everyone can relate to. I can go on for days talking about each song and how it resonated in my ear and never left, but Iíd rather you take a listen for yourself. Rediscover what mainstream music wanted you to forget. Great music is out there. Find it.