'Tribe' captures band's energy

By Jason Fierstein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Blackmoon Graffiti

Echoes of My Tribe

Aqua Negra Records

The elusive quality of labeling Tucson's own Blackmoon Graffiti is the best part about listening to their musical innovations. One just never knows what to expect from the funksters.

With the Aqua Negra release of "Echoes of My Tribe", the two-time Tammies champs sauter their minds with their musical talents onto an album of genious qualities. "Echoes" will have most every lounge lizard up jamming to the experimental rap/hip-hop/jazz/funk vibes of the multicultural Tuscon outfit. Elements of techno, industrial and Spanish guitars fill in the cracks where the listener might go hungry, in the shadow of a doubt of that possibility.

Diva Amy Stuenkel and rapper Napolean Powell swap vocals above a truly funky eight tracks on "Echoes of My Tribe". Stuenkel's influences could range from anywhere from Anita Baker to the Association to En Vogue. The uplifting, spiritual qualities of her voice hook a subconscious rhythm in the mind and demand to materialize into physical movement. One of the best tracks, if not the clincher, is "Echoes", the fourth track on the album. A bottom-heavy and machine gun-like African drum session mixes with an early Nine Inch Nails industrial guitar thomp and explosion. The whale-like calls of Stuenkel's voice again linger and swirl around the fury of the track. The Blackmoon shines strongest amongst the organized chaos of "Echoes." "Wouldja" and "Standing in the Mirror" stitch together the rest of album. Blackmoon's cover of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is a moody and romantic trip-hop track. Hey, all the damn tracks are par excellence for that matter.

To have attended this university without letting your soul free via the Blackmoon experience is to have failed miserably. Blackmoon Graffiti promotes dance, funk, multiculturalism and awareness of the unharnessed soul on "Echoes of My Tribe". A passionate and intelligent release from true musicians. Now we can say we've heard of them first.

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