Formed two years ago by singer Carol C and programmer/DJ U.F.LOW, Si*SÈ bring together the atmospheric vibes of electronica with the crackle of live instruments. The results are electric: "Itís about mixing stuff up thatís not usually mixed together," says Carol C. "Weíre a band from New York City and we try and combine all of its musical traditions including hip-hop beats, Latin rhythms and down-tempo electronic music because thatís what we hear everyday of our lives. Itís a prelude to the future."
Their self-titled debut is a romantic stroll through the global barrio. Singing in both Spanish and English, stunning vocalist Carol C (whose family hails from the Dominican Republic) is at once sexy, smooth, soulful and completely unique. Programmer/producer/keyboardist Cliff Cristafaro aka U.F.LOW is a b-boy minimalist armed with a single MPC drum machine. But theirs is more than a beauty and beats story: Two viola players (Jeannie Oliver and Olivia Martinez), crack percussionist Neil Ochoa, spirited bassist Morgan Phillips, and live drummer Ryan Farley add an eclectic live punch to songs that range from deep drum ëní bass to futuristic Latin ritmos and beyond.
Carol C, a well-known figure on New Yorkís underground drumíníbass scene, has always wanted to start a band. "I started singing when I was four," she explains, "My mother was a singer growing up, who came to Brooklyn from the Dominican Republic to start a new life with her husband and three children." Carolís first singing experience was with opera, but she found herself drawn to ever more varied music. " My motherís half-Arabic, so when I found this out, I was all about collecting their music and imitating their voices. I didnít sound authentic, but they were still an influence on my vocal style." A stint in Amber Sunshower led to tracks with drumíníbass producers such as DJ Dara, and eventually to her own DJ gig.
A mutual friend -- and later manager -- Hector Batista, hooked Carol up with a fellow underground dweller, Flatbush, Brooklyn-born U.F.LOW. "When I heard Carol," Cliff says, "it was like her vocals turned me on to this sensual aspect of music." Meeting face-to-face at a downtown club, Carol and Cliff hit it off, and recorded a six-track demo all in one day. Then, tapping some musician friends to flesh out the electronics, Si*SÈ found themselves forging a fresh new sound in the cramped evirons of Ryan Farleyís Bronx apartment, in rat-infested Lower East Side basements, and at downtown bars where their talent generated label interest from their very first performance.
Michael Mangini (Digable Planets) signed on to co-produce what would become their debut album: at once a vibrant orchestral production with real dancefloor potential. From Spanish-language jams like "Cuando" and the acoustic-guitar-meets-hip hop-funk track "Bizcocho" to their heartrending interpretation of Oran "Juice" Jonesí classic "The Rain," their debut is like a velvet hand grenade blasting through the walls of electronic pop, world music, and urban rhythms. Like the city they call home, Si*SÈís music is a place of infinite possibility, where exotic traditions and tongues mingle with cutting edge daring and youthful energy. The next train is leaving soon -- and youíve got the ticket in your hands.
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