My man Rene Lopez has been working hard on new material for the follow-up to his previous album, which landed on this site’s Best of 2011 list, E.L.S. (short for Electric Latin Soul, a coin he termed to describe the sound he had been working on at that time). 

I’ve heard some of the material off the new album, Paint the Moon Gold during a couple of Lopez’s most recent Rockwood Music Hall sets. Although the material possess some familiar elements as it still draws from the salsa and meringue of his youth and of his late father, Rene Lopez, Sr., it also manages to represent a change in direction sonically for the younger Lopez. Simply put the sound is less electric, more soul. 

If you were familiar with Rene Lopez’s previous work, you’ll notice that the compositions still manage to deftly blur the traditional lines of genre but a bit more subtly, and the arrangements on compositions such as the “Everybody Wants to Get High" are stripped down to just live instrumentation.  — guitar, bass, drums, horns, flute, etc. And yet the composition doesn’t lose it’s complexity. This track reminds me quite a bit of the smooth Sunday afternoon vibes of Mos Def’s ”Umi Says“