A collage is supposed to be more than the sum of its parts, but Collagist — which features local beatmaker Manuel “Mnolo” Escobar collaborating with 18 different regional artists — seems to lack any overriding theme or logic. The subject of war rears its head on a few tracks, to mixed results: “Put Your Guns Away” rises above its generic anti-violence sentiment due to Suzanna Choffel’s seductive coo and strong guitar work, but the solid tribal beat of “Masters of War” is shot down by Anecha’s flat warbling.
The rest of the tracks are connected only by some truly annoying voicemail shout-outs, and seem to vary in quality based on genre. The singer-songwriter tracks fare the worst, particularly “But a Memory” by Aly Tadros (who sounds woefully out of place). The electronic, hip-hop, and R&B cuts are immeasurably more listenable, though — especially Mnolo’s solo remixes. And porno-jam “Candy” features Brandon Thomas singing the best (read: funniest) lyric I’ve heard so far this year: “Candy’s got peanut-butter legs / So brown and so smooth / And so easy to spread.” (At least he didn’t say “crunchy.”)
Mnolo’s CD release party, featuring his collaborators on Collagist, is
Friday, January 30, at Limelight (myspace.com/limelightsa).