Turista, a new Puerto Rican project rich in riffs and licks, finally has an album to show for its live experimentation. On the self-titled project is a standout single featuring the work of one of our favorite R&B boricuas – Brooklyn-based, Puerto Rico-raised vocalist Raquel Berríos of Buscabulla.
Berríos’ feature is on “Naturaleza Humana,” and Turista provides a poppy, peppy backdrop for the dreamy lyrics that explore corporeal realities. Bass licks underscore her whispers, her tone shifting between breezy, loving lines to phrases endowed with more urgency.
The fact she’s being tapped to lay down lyrics on other artists’ work is no surprise — Berríos and her fellow troublemaker, Buscabulla bandmate, and real-life partner Luis Alfredo del Valle turned out an electropsych debut EP in 2013 produced by Dev Hynes when their track “Sono” won the Converse/Guitar Center “Get Out of the Garage” contest. The duo’s soulful funk — in Spanish, of course — is far from a traditional Puerto Rican soundscape, which may explain how its managed to worm its way into the affections of fans from the island and well beyond its shores.
The rest of Turista’s album is a mix between the arranged and the improvised. This is their first project from Turista, a group comprised on Fabián Wilkins on the keyboard, David Pérez on drums and vibraphone, and William Cruz on the bass and turning in some work on the keyboard as well. The mellow album surfs through a variety of aural cues from psychedelic rock to jazzy horns and thoughtful keyboard riffs, with songs that pay homage to zombies (“Zombies (The Walking Dead)”) and sun-soaked days on island shores (the summer-ready “De La Costa,” which is interspersed with field recordings collected by Wilkins) with heady feels largely conveyed through instrumental tracks.
It’s the work of seasoned musicians looking to explore their limits in a new configuration. The trio toured the music in 2015, going through immeasurable versions of each song before hitting upon the sounds that would make it onto the album. The result should probably be the soundtrack to your beach party next weekend.
Berríos is not the only artist to grace the album with a collab — PR roots reggae band Cultura Profética’s Juan Carlos Sulsona makes an appearance, as does Ricky Martin’s drummer Tony Escapa and Benny Marín, who records with tropical composer Wilkins (who is also Fabián’s dad).
Turista’s self-titled project drops July 15, 2016.