Music collective Gitkin returned this month with is latest studio recording. The Brooklyn, NY-based group’s latest recording, its four-track EP de la cancion was released March 13 through Wonderwheel Recordings, and came less than two years after the release of the group’s second overall recording, its 2018 debut album 5 Star Motel. This latest offering from Gitkin is an interesting presentation in large part because of its featured songs. That will be addressed shortly. The arrangements featured within those songs are key in their own way to the whole of the EP and will be addressed a little later. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of de la cancion. All things considered, they make the EP a record that is worth at least one listen while audiences wait for Gitkin’s next album.
Gitkin’s latest studio recording de la cancion (roughly translated, it means “of the song”) is an presentation of songs for audiences to take in while they wait for the group’s next album. The record features four tracks, but in reality, only features two songs, ‘De La (ft. Carol C)’ and ‘Cancion De Aplauso.’ Those songs are complimented by a remix of each song. Each remix was handled by hip-hop group Pimps of Joytime, which is worthy of its own share of applause for its own work. Perhaps this is nitpicking, but in days gone by, when any music act released a recording with so few new tracks, it was considered essentially a single. As a matter of fact, that is still very much the approach taken by many acts. This is not the first time that any group has taken this approach. Veteran performer Carlos Santana released the EP In Search of Mona Lisa last year, and it was presented very much in the same fashion – limited new material despite the number of tracks. Now the question comes as to why this is so important to address. The answer is that designations between EP, LP and single can and often do play into pricing for recordings. LPs are generally more expensive than EPs, and both are more expensive than singles. Singles, downloaded, generally cost as little as .99 cents. EPs can range as much as $5, depending on the recording. Case in point, Amazon lists Gitkin’s new EP at a price of $3.99. By comparison, the group’s 2018 recording 5 Star Motel is listed at $16.94 on CD and $16.98 on vinyl. In other words, taking a four-track record with only two true new songs and calling it an EP is a way to make more money. Keeping that in mind, calling a record that has only two truly new songs and two remixes of said songs an EP is of concern. It really could have been labeled a single and likely still gotten just as much sales considering the arrangements that are featured in each work.
Speaking of the songs’ featured arrangements, they are the foundation for the record’s presentation. The arrangement in the remix of ‘Cancion de Aplausio’ is the most notable of the record’s compositions. The Pimps of Joytime remix of the song takes the original and steps it up, making it a song that sounds like it would be right at home in the club with its hybrid combination of hip-hop beats and Middle Eastern elements. Everything in the arrangement is so well-balanced, so that no one line overpowers the other elements. Now that is not to say that the original work is not enjoyable. Quite the opposite in fact. The difference is that the original composition is more distinctly World music in its presentation. At the same time, it still is enjoyable and infectious in its own right. What sets the two versions apart is what the Pimps of Joytime remix adds to the original. That hip-hop/funk element added into the remix just gives the song more of a kick for lack of better wording. What’s more, the group did something to slightly alter the sound of the original song’s elements. It almost sounds digitized. Whatever it is, it works so well. When it is coupled with that remix’s funk/hip-hop elements, the whole clearly becomes the EP’s most notable arrangement. Pimps of Joytime took a similar approach to its presentation of ‘De La’ that it did with its take on ‘Cancion De Aplausio.’ The original arrangement receives a certain digitized effect, giving that source material a little more of a kick for lack of better wording. Those hip-hop and funk elements are there, too, in the song’s remix, giving it even more life. In hindsight, Pimps of Joytime’s remixes of Gitkin’s two originals are, at least in this critic’s ears, better than their source material. That is not to say that the source material in not enjoyable. Rather, the remixes are just a step above the source material. Collectively, the remixes and their source material go a long way toward showing why the EP’s content is so important to the record’s presentation. They by themselves are reason enough for audiences to take in this EP.
The musical arrangements featured in Gitkin’s new EP are the very heart of the record, but are not its only important element. The EP’s sequencing is important in its own right, despite the record being so short in its run time of just 13 minutes. As already noted, the Pimps of Joytime remixes of the disc’s two originals are steps up from their source material. Now keeping that in mind, the record starts off laid back in the bluesy arrangement in ‘De La (ft. Carol C.).’ The record’s energy picks up slightly from there in ‘Cancion De Aplausio.’ The energy actually picks up a little more in Pumps of Joytime’s remix of ‘De La (Ft. Carol C.)’ thanks to the inclusion of the hip-hop and funk elements. The funky re-mix of ‘Cancion De Aplausio’ keeps the energy stable, but still does even more to keep listeners engaged and entertained than its predecessors. The balance of the source material and its remix elements is so infectious that, even being a mid-tempo work, it still actually manages to increase the energy because it is so danceable. Simply put, the songs featured in this record and their remixes are all very mid-tempo works, but the sequencing of the songs manages in its own way to keep the energy at a certain level and keep listeners engaged and entertained. When that is considered along with the arrangements themselves, the two elements together make the EP well worth hearing. That is even despite the fact that the record is, in reality, more single than EP.
Gitkin’s new EP de la cancion is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of listeners, from fans of hip-hop and funk to fans of World music. From the arrangements themselves, which offer their own share of engagement and entertainment, to the sequencing of the material, the record does plenty to make itself appealing to listeners. Keeping that in mind, it proves to be a work that truly is about the music, and in turn, a record that any music lover will want to hear, even though it is more single than EP. It is available now. More information on de la cancion is available online now along with all of Gitkin’s latest news at:
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