Sol Azul

The debut full length CD from Toronto's Sol Azul featuring Visionary is out worldwide along with 3 wicked slabs of vinyl featuring drum'n'bass, broken-beat and tech-house remixes. Preview all the new music and check some great articles and reviews below the fold.

Sol Azul releases are available by mailorder or mp3 at
the nice+smooth store and at itunes.

Preview the music by clicking
the titles below: (all 44.1/128 mp3's)

Sol Azul
CD digipak (nice 0023)

1. Paixăo 2. Sola Bossa
3. Amor Y Fuego 4. Encanto
5. Babuba Samba 6. Lovely Inside
7. Saudade Da Manha 8. Heaven
9. Want 10. Baila!
11. Encanto (remix)
12. Babuba Samba (remix)
13. Sola Bossa (remix)
14. Lovely Inside - feat. Mista D (remix)

Sol Azul - The Visionary Remixes
double 12" (nice 0022)

A1. Sola Bossa (2005 remix)
B1. Babuba Samba (remix)
C1. Heaven
D1. Lovely Inside - feat. Mista D (remix)

Sol Azul - Paixăo
12"(nice 0024)

A1. Paixăo (Visionary mix)
B1. Paixăo (DJ Shine In Your Eye remix)

SOL AZUL - Biography

Following the successful release of their worldwide smash hit 12” ‘Sola Bossa” (Oscillate Recordings), SOL AZUL release their debut full-length CD (NICE 0023) in tandem with THE VISIONARY REMIXES (NICE 0022) double vinyl. The Sol Azul project is spearheaded by Toronto musician/producer D’Arcy McGuire, who has been lovingly preparing this album for close to 5 years, working closely alongside singer/songwriter RUBI, who adds a sultry mashup of English, Spanish and Brazilian-Portuguese vocals to the group. Additional acoustic elements are rounded out by Toronto guitarist Juan Dino Toledo.

Prolific Toronto junglist crew VISIONARY (aka Marcus Visionary and Nemesis), add their unmistakable riddim’s and remixing talents to the album, resulting in a brilliant collection of thumpin’ breaks with tasty Latin undertones. Visionary’s extensive discography boasts releases on top UK labels such as Metalheadz, Soul:r, 31 Records, Karma, Architecture , Flex and Yard, as well as Toronto labels On Point, Vinyl Syndicate, Oscillate and Hustlin’ Beats. Their remix of the Sol Azul track Encanto has been getting steady play for nearly a year on white-label, most notably from Dj Bailey on BBC’s 1Xtra in the UK.

Sol Azul are also accompanied by a collection of star musicians from Toronto’s diverse music community on this release. Mista D of The Salads guests on ‘Lovely Inside’, and Cathy Craig of Gypsy Sol and the New Deal chimes in her trumpet magic. Anthony King of Cityfolk guests on “Babuba Samba’, and Hip Hop up-and-comer Sincere spits on ‘Amor Y Fuego’ and ‘Encanto’. Jay Guerriere of Que Es! and Kidd Rasta and the Peacemakers thumps it out on the kit, congas and background vocals. Justin ‘Swiss Army Knife’ McWilliams also adds his eclectic electric guitar and vocals to many of the tracks.

The album’s opener, Paixăo (pronounced "Pie-SHAO") is a wicked blast of house-tempo broken-beats produced and remixed by the Visionary crew that is bound for dancefloors worldwide, and will be issued on vinyl July 21st/2005. Sol Azul are currently preparing to take their live act on the road this summer in support of the album, and are already working on a follow-up of all new material.

Charts, Reviews and Articles

DJ Bailey on BBC1xtra in the UK with the advance copies a year ago!!

on BBC1xtra Oct. 12th, 2005. Download the
whole radio show here courtesy of breaksblog.

How summery is this? You can almost taste the Red Fruit Solero. Fast-rising Toronto duo Visionary show there's more to them than dubwise tracks by remixing four tracks from fellow Canadians Sol Azul's Brazilian-flavoured album. It's all fluttering flamenco guitars, sunny trumpets, woozy vocals and cooly shuffling beats, and it's all very, very nice indeed. If you like Suv's world music-infused beats, this is a must.

SOLAZUL - SOLAZUL - nice+smooth
As summer approaches the search begins for the perfect soundtrack to accompany us through those long weekends chilling in the park. This sun-kissed album from Solazul, brainchild of Canadian producer D'arcy McGuire, might be just the ticket. It's an eclectic affair, crossing boundaries of style and genre but always maintaining a samba/bossa vibe with vocals sung in both English and Spanish. Opening track 'Paixao' is a light and breezy broken beat affair while Toronto junglists Visionary provide remixes reminiscent of Drumagik's samba d&b style. As essential to your summer as a new pair of shades.

Blues and Soul UK -Sept. 2005
IMPORT PRESSURE #954 by Mark Moore
SOL AZUL: "Paixao" Nice + Smooth
The title means passion and is the lead track from Sol Azul’s album from Toronto’s D’Arcy Mcguire and singer/ songwriter Rubi. The Original Visionary Mix is courtesy of Marcus Visionary and Nemesis and is more on a Latin breakbeat tip rather than their usual jungle. The Brazilian/ Portuguese vocals add authenticity to the carnival vibe. Jason "DJ Shine" Spanu provides the "In Your Eye Mix" which has a funky bassline riff sounding almost like a digeridoo that accentuates Juan Dino Toledo’s guitar. Feel the passion. (MM) 4/5

Mosoul UK
SolaZul – SolaZul (Nice+Smooth)
Cat No: nice 0023. Available Now.
by Jon Freer
Undoubtedly an album with the warmest season in mind, this self-titled collection from SolaZul is an Iberian flavoured journey into thrilling D&B, a variety of Brazilian dance styles and shaking broken beat. In places, singer Rubi echoes the work of syrup-tongued vocalists like Bebel Gilberto et al, which should please fans of those artistes, whereas the D&B will welcome the quadruple of remixes, mostly of a slamming nature, from the Visionary pairing. Luscious vocals coat the grooves created by curving guitars and breezy percussion on “Paixăo”. “Sola Bossa” is undoubtedly the most uplifting movement on the album, courtesy of Rubi’s compelling vocals, infectious guitars and drums with a spring to their step. “Baila!” invites one to dance alongside steady percussion and committed Spanish-sounding guitars. Muy bien.

Discoid Magazine - Italy
Sound Barriers / David Colkett Oct 2005
SOL AZUL >> Paixŕo >> (NICE + SMOOTH)

I love this Brazilian track that right from the very first few beats gives the listener a ‘clip round the ear’! The ‘Original’ is a slightly broken Bossa number with a vocal scat hook running over the top (in the best Brazilian tradition) that enters into your head and makes it spin around… On the other side we have a more 4/4 mix which has been done by DJ Shine with a rather tech kind of feel about it. My favourite is the first one though, the one that keeps all the warmth of the song but at the same time ‘sprays’ it out on the floor!

Exclaim Magazine, Canada
Sept. 2005, Sol Azul CD review By Matthew Hiscock
On the strength of the dance floor hit “Encanto” — a tasty slice of Latin action — this is the product of five years of work by Toronto-based D’Arcy McGuire, alongside vocalist Rubi. On the negative side, there’s nothing here that sounds like it would have needed five years to create, but then on the plus side, albums that take so long are usually ponderously, self-indulgently awful, something which can’t be said here. There’s a heavy Latin break beat funk, down-tempo and drum & bass, reminiscent of Zero dB and comparable in quality, which is saying something. Backed up by an army of local names (Mista D of the Salads and Sincere among others) the formula avoids getting tired across the styles and keeps up the level of songwriting throughout. If you’re not into summery, Brazillian drum & bass, you’ll want to avoid the 4 Visionary mixes at disc’s end, but for the rest of us, it’s worth more than a casual glance.

Mamarecords website / Hungary
Sol Azul CD
Kanada nem feltétlenül napfényes országként él fejünkben, sokkal inkább egy-két barátságos medve, hófödte hegycsúcsok és végeláthatatlan erd k jutnak az eszünkbe; a torontói Sol Azul formáció viszont pont arra vállalkozik, hogy megváltoztassa ezt a képet, mi mással, mint muzsikaszóval. A csapat agya a zenész/producer D'Arcy McGuire, akinek ötévnyi munkája fekszik a saját magukról elnevezett debütáló nagylemezben. A fülledt zenékhez remekül passzol az angolul/spanyolul/portugálul énekl Rubi hangja, az akusztikus elemeket legnagyobb részben Juan Dino Toledo gitárosnak köszönhetjük. Az angol berkekben is jól cseng a szintén kanadai Visionary dnb duó neve, akik nemcsak a zenék megalkotásában vállaltak szerepet, hanem számos remixet is készítettek. Utóbbiakból néhány felkerült a bemutatkozó korongra, néhány pedig az albummal egy id ben érkez remixcsomag anyagát képezi. Kicsi Bebel Gilberto, pici Kaleidoscopió, leheletnyi Gothan Project, hangyányi Jorge Ben... Paixao Latin Nu-Beat treat... This Summer seems to be producing a lot of Latin influenced styles... Reggaeton, Latin Nu-Jazz and even Boogaloo is still holding its own this year... This 12" is a great example of the hybrid Latin sound which incorporates the elements of both Latin & Nu-Beat to excellent effect... Dancefloor & recommended!!!

In The Mix, Australia
Sol Azul - Sol Azul (Nice+Smooth)
Jul 15, 2005 by Miss Kitty
Sol Azul brings together five years of work from Toronto based musician/producer D’Arcy McGuire. He collaborates with a range of Toronto based musicians and vocalists, most notably, singer/songwriter Rubi, who adds a mash up of English, Spanish and Brazilian-Portuguese vocals to the mix, acoustic guitarist Juan Dino Toledo, and jungle crew Visionary a.k.a. Marcus Visionary and Nemesis, who have released on leading UK drum & bass labels including Metalheadz and Soul:r to name a few.

Other Toronto musicians that accompany McQuire and crew include Mista D (The Salads), Cathy Craig (Gypsy Sol & New Deal) on trumpet, Anthony King (Cityfolk), MC Sincere, Jay Guerriere (Que Es!, Kidd Rasta & The Peacemakers) with backing vocals, congas and kit, and Justin McWilliams on electric guitar.

While the guest musicians add an organic earthy feel, Visionary adds un-mistakable and quite infectious rinsing rhythms to the album. Visionary’s white label remix of Sol Azul’s Encanto, track four on the album, has already been getting steady airplay for the last twelve months.

The release encompasses a range of styles but predominantly sweet soulful Latin vibes, bossa, Brazilian, samba, flamenco, drum ‘n’ bass and jazzy broken beats. Rubi’s mash up of English, Spanish and Brazilian-Portuguese vocals overtops dance-floor and chill-friendly beats and breaks, with rolling melodies and flavour-some Latin vibes.

The opening track, Paixao (pronounced Pie-Shao), cleverly has the feel of calling all nations with its universally appealing housey feel. It is set to be released on vinyl with remixes on July 21.

Live grabs in tracks like Sola Bossa are a nice touch. This track has already brought Sol Azul some success since its release on Oscillate Recordings, and their next run of vinyl, 2005 Visionary Remixes, is likely to push sales along further.

The merging of drum ‘n’ bass and Latin influences on tracks like Sola Bossa and Lovely Inside, seems like a fairly unique fusion. Although it’s far from what LT Bukem would produce, fans of this style of interesting and musical drum & bass should find some pleasure with this Sol Azul release.

Lovely Inside has more of a Caribbean/Jamaican feel which introduces a much needed new element to the mix. Muted trumpets give a sassy jazzy feel on Saudade Da Manha and help break up the Latin guitars throughout.

Sol Azul oozes sunshine, lovely white sand, clear turquoise water, beautiful Latin boys and girls in bikinis. While it feels a bit too restaurant/café music at times with the loungey Latin stuff particularly, there is a time and a place for this sort of music, so go with it, and track like Sola Bossa and Lovely Inside make it all worth it.

EYE WEEKLY Canada- 08.11.05
DnB fusionists Sol Azul tap into Toronto's summertime sound

While many records feel like the sum of their influences, very few sound like the soul of their city. Toronto trio Sol Azul have accomplished just that with their debut CD, newly released on local label Nice + Smooth. Offering a smooth mix of samba, drum 'n' bass, flamenco, broken beat, hip-hop and more, the self-titled album feels like summertime in T.O.

Developing since early 2001, Sol Azul features the core of musician/ producer D'Arcy McGuire, guitarist Juan Dino Toledo and multilingual singer/songwriter Rubi. Though McGuire and Rubi had previously played together in acid jazz band What Is?, this project grew from McGuire and Toledo's desire to collaborate in making a Latin house track. The flamenco-fuelled instrumental "Baila!" was the result, but Sol Azul only became concrete in name and practice after "Sola Bossa" (a slice of vocal drum 'n' bass sunshine co-produced by infamous local duo Visionary) garnered attention locally, at the 2001 Miami Winter Music Conference and on UK D&B radio.

"This was all a happy accident," says McGuire, "because we were really excited about what we were doing. But, with us all being long-time musicians, we knew that excitement doesn't always generate steam."

As a programmer, producer and classically trained musician -- who plays seven instruments and has paid the bills working a day job writing music for advertising and a night job playing bass with folk, funk, rock, Latin, cover and dance acts galore -- McGuire knew Sol Azul were onto something. The three became more focused on writing music and thinking in terms of a Sol Azul album. Given that McGuire also shared a studio for years with Visionary duo Marcus Visionary and Nemesis, there was much cross-collaboration. The musician lent live bass and drums to the duo's electronic D&B and they, in turn, pumped up the programming on numerous Sol Azul tracks and turned out a series of killer remixes, many of which are included on the new CD.

McGuire refers to himself as "the guy who comes from a production background while also contributing as an active writer," and he speaks excitedly about the others' contributions to Sol Azul.

"I think that, out of all of us, Dino kind of defined the sound," he offers. "He plays guitar with so much passion, emotion, and mojo -- kind of like Jimmy Page doing flamenco. Rubi, well she's the voice, the face and I think she contributed some of the best ideas and songs on the record. As for Visionary, they come with a really strong instinct when it comes to putting shit on the dancefloor, and definitely gave our project a lot of credibility out of the gate, especially in the world of electronic music."

The Visionary mixes of Sol Azul tracks "Encanto" and "Paixao" have followed in the footsteps of "Sola Bossa," again generating much excitement and airplay on both sides of the Atlantic. But they're not the only locals supporting the Sol Azul sound. Other contributing artists include vocalists Mista D (The Salads), Anthony King (Cityfolk) and up-and-coming hip-hop MC Sincere, and musicians such as trumpeter Cathy Craig, drummer Jay Guerriere and guitarist Justin McWilliams. Many of these folks will join the trio tonight as they perform their first live Sol Azul show since playing PAs at raves earlier this decade.

I'm curious to see what gels, on stage and on the dancefloor, as diverse audiences discover Sol Azul, and they grow into themselves. McGuire, open and chatty through the entire interview, is true to character as he looks ahead.

"I'd like to think that over the next couple of years, we could work on making a little bit more of a Sol Azul sound as opposed to a borrowing of sounds," he says. "I think that's going to take a little bit of time, more records, and more live gigs. In the meantime, we're happy to get some booties moving. There's nothing like going to clubs and seeing people dancing to your tunes."
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NOW MAGAZINE Canada - 08.11.05
Sol satisfying
Local Latin crew discover drum 'n' bass

Sometimes the best creative moments happen when the pressure's off.

In Sol Azul's case, the local Latin electronic fusion crew connected and struck gold by accident. During a late-night session in 2001, producer/bass player D'Arcy McGuire was working on a Latin house joint with guitarist Juan Dino Toledo while hanging out with pals Marcus Sills and Dave Whalen (together known as drum 'n' bass duo Visionary). Sills and Whalen suggested knocking off a d 'n' b version of the tune.

Turns out that late-night experiment started generating excitement – even though McGuire and Toledo weren't d 'n' b fans.

"Usually you have to fight a lot harder to get people to care about the music you're making, so when the apple falls in your lap, you don't throw it away," says McGuire. "People were interested in it, and I know enough to go with that. We made up the name for the band in about two minutes."

The success of that first experiment (Sola Bossa) motivated them to record an entire album. The basic band is McGuire, Toledo and singer/songwriter Rubi, with the Visionary crew providing drum 'n' bass remixes and an army of guest musicians helping out with their sunny, lush electronic reworking of Latin and Brazilian motifs.

Although McGuire claims that little of the album was recorded with all the musicians in the same building at the same time, there's something very live and organic about the songs, despite the clattering drum machines. Due to the large number of guest musicians, reworking the album for live gigs could be a nightmare. But McGuire's not worried. He's had good experiences at all the performances so far, including a handful of raves and a well-received gig at an awards show for Web developers (!).

"For the most part, everyone who played on the album is going to be coming out for the show," he says, "– well, with the exception of the trumpet player, Cathy Craig, who I have no idea how to find.

"Everything but the beats will be live. We're not bringing a drummer out yet, since the beats are computer-generated, and I don't want to have him onstage playing just a little hi-hat here and there."
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