Grupo Fantasma, "El Existential"

4.5

After earning a Grammy Award nod for its 2008 album, "Sonidos Gold," Austin-based Latin funk act Grupo Fantasma returns with another international concoction of sound with its latest release, "El Existential." And this time around, the group adds even more musical ingredients into the mix. With an old-school flavor, the track "Realizando" is a near-perfect fusion of funk and salsa that features psychedelic guitar, expressive strings and funky saxophone. And the jazzy salsa number "Sacatelo Bailando" borrows a horn riff from Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia," creating an irresistible blend of piano montuno patterns and big-band excitement. Elsewhere, a reggae vibe is heard on the cut "Hijo," "Juan Tenorio" is a slow-grind bolero channeling the Buena Vista Social Club, and "Telaraña" calls to mind David Bowie's "Let's Dance" but with a Latin twist. Tightly weaving Anglo, Afro and Latin musical genres, "El Existential" takes on an identity of its own.