Electric Kif: Like a ‘Jefe’
Electric Kif are a Miami-based power quartet that explore the boundaries between rock, jazz fusion and electronic drum and bass. Bassist Rodrigo Zambrano, keyboardist Jason Matthews, drummer Armando Lopez, and guitarist Eric Escanes describe their music as “post-nuclear,” a dynamic mash of hard-hitting groove, high-octane riffs and cosmic melody. What you’ll hear is a swirling tsunami of rock, fusion, funk, and jazz in unending combinations.
At the inaugural Suwannee Rising Music Festival in April, we observed:
Florida is blessed with many great fusion bands, and we were fortunate to have Electric Kif on stage this time. In addition to their own sets, they have often backed Roosevelt Collier at SoSMP. Their rhythm section — Rodrigo Zambrano on bass and Armando Lopez on drums — are so incredibly tight, and Jason Matthews plays his keyboards of that platform. The star of the set may have been Eric Escanes on guitar, who was just killer start to finish.
They opened with “Labrats” and “Spider,” and from there the set continued to build. They were really powering by the time they got to “Weird Fishes,” “Little Louie,” and “Jefe,” at which point they tore the roof off the sucker with “Hang Up Your Hang-Ups.” And still they were weren’t done, saying good by with a truly spacey tune they claim was the National Anthem.
Thanks to FunkCity.net for the great video!
On September 17, the “Kif” will release their newest album, Jefe. It is a sonic delight. The album release party is tonight, September 14, at Lagniappe in Miami. They will take the album on the road throughout the Southeast and as far north as New York (Rockwood Music Hall) and as far west as Chicago (Martyrs). Along the way, they’ll play the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, with this tour ending at Suwannee Hulaween.
The new album jumps out immediately with “St. Germain,” a jet-smooth spacey synth ride driven by Lopez’s drums. Every member of the band has the opportunity to stand out throughout the 11 tracks. Escanes’ guitar comes screaming in on title track “Jefe,” some powerful fusion with heavy bass from Zambrano and drums.
“The Birds” takes its foot off the gas — slightly — with more swirling synths from Matthews, also a feature of “King Paimon.” On the other hand, “Radio” is some edgy EDM funk, reminiscent of the recent double-single by TWYN, another project of Matthews’.
There is a distinct Latin vibe to “TasteMaker,” drums introducing guitar and then synths with a Snarky Puppy syncopation feel. The short “W.B.E.” features more Latin-propulsive funk with electronic voice conversation overlaid. That’s followed by “Three Body Problem,” keyboards and space bass layered over a steady drum beat. It includes an Alan Watts quote. The groove is deeper than deep on this one. Matthews just tears it up.
They use an old Miles Davis discussion to work into “Grumpy Children,” Escanes’ funky guitar joined by wicked keyboards and more delicious space bass. This is just baddassery. “Cosa Nostra II,” on the other hand, eases in with violin from Nathaniel Wolkstein and acoustic guitar before nasty, nasty electric guitar comes slithering out, the violin still in the mix. Matthews plays piano to continue the vibe of the song before it blows up in a massive electrical storm.
“Mild Syncussion” is inaccurately named. It is NOT mild! This song jams along that electronica fusion path, Escanes once more with fine guitar work. Lopez’s work here is superb, with Matthews totally spaced out.
In hip vernacular of an early day, we would call this recording “boss.” Jefe, indeed!
09/14 RECORD RELEASE PARTY @ Langiappe | Miami FL
09/26 Will’s Pub | Orlando | FL w/ Shak Nasti
09/27 Georgia Theater Rooftop | Athens GA w/ Manic Focus in the Theater
09/28 Evening Muse | Charlotte NC w/ Grey Scale Whale
09/30 Cary Street Cafe | Richmond VA
10/02 Martin’s | Roanoke VA
10/03 Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival | Pittsboro NC
10/04 Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival | Pittsboro NC
10/05 Into the Woods Festival | Charleston SC
10/07 Rockwood Music Hall | New York NY
10/08 Irons Works | Buffalo NY w/ Roosevelt Collier Band
10/09 Thunderbird Music Hall | Pittsburgh PA w/ Roosevelt Collier Band
10/11 Martyrs | Chicago IL w/ Chris Bullock
10/12 Blu Jazz | Akron OH w/ Chris Bullock
10/13 Bop Stop | Cleveland OH w/ Chris Bullock
10/24 Suwannee Hullaween | Live Oak FL