On first glance, it might seem odd that Los Angeles-based Ozomatli chose Tony Berg as its producer for Fire Away. Berg is usually associated with more laid-back artists from Ted Hawkins, and Aimee Mann to Bruce Hornsby and Animal Logic. Closer examination, however, also reveals he’s helmed sessions by X, Public Image, and Squeeze. Ozomatli chose Berg for one important reason: they’ve never been able to capture their live sound in a studio, and he's great at it.
For over a decade, Ozomatli’s genre-defying music has either delighted or befuddled, with every recorded moment seemingly designed for maximum crowd elation. With shows frequently ending with the band and its fans pouring into the streets, it makes sense the band would want to put that foot forward. On their fifth album, Fire Away, Ozomatli—for better or worse—are still all about expertly diluting the music of a thousand cultures with the ultimate result the shaking of as many asses as possible.
A record best judged with preconceptions cast aside and broad strokes accepted. Daniel Ross 2010 An album that promises endless fusions of cumbia, reggae, Western RnB and countless other genres doesn’t initially fill the discerning consumer with too much hope. Readiness to experiment in such a brazen way can engender distrust amongst audiences pre-occupied with authenticity, but Ozomatli’s fifth album, Fire Away, surprises on all levels – it proves to be as much a series of intriguing genre experiments as it does a serious musical statement.