Systema Solar, ‘Rumbo A Tierra’: A review by Jeffrey Lee Puckett for The Courier-Journal
Systema Solar is a Columbian world music band but the question is: Which world?
The six-piece band takes strong elements of traditional Caribbean music, highly percussive and emphatically joy-filled, and then laces everything with hip-hop and electronic dance music (EDM). By the time it’s all over, everything sounds new – and surprisingly effortless.
The electronic aspects are mostly used to substantially fortify the thick bottom end, making this already dance-intensive music even more ready for clubbing, but Systema Solar is also a politically savvy group. Songs address environmental issues, poverty and sexuality; the video for “Rumbera” pointedly includes transgender women and the only statement they’re making is by dancing, which might be the best kind of statement.
Politics and dance music don’t always make good partners but Systema Solar is never less than a millisecond away from its next giant groove. “Rumbera,” for example, is staggering fun with a parade of hooks so compelling that resistance is futile. It’s also, unfortunately, one of the few songs that works expertly both off and on the dance floor.