CIR­CUM­FER­ENCE Newmex­i­flow (Cir­cu­lar Records)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

Santa Fe na­tive and so­cially con­scious rapper/pro­ducer Mark J. Or­tiz, aka Cir­cum­fer­ence, is back with a new full-length al­bum af­ter self-re­leas­ing the hype-wor­thy

Res­o­lu­tion­ary in 2008. The son and grand­son of mu­si­cians who con­tinue to per­form as Los Na­tivos dur­ing cul­tural events in Santa Fe, Or­tiz has an in­grained sense of place and love of mu­sic that shine through on the 14-track Newmex­i­flow. The ti­tle aptly de­scribes the over­all vibe on the al­bum. Thick beats and sam­ples min­gle with Or­tiz’s acous­tic Latin gui­tar and hints of reg­gae and soul, while a few guest ap­pear­ances keep the over­all fla­vor fresh. Or­tiz is an artist fully in touch with the cul­ture of both hip-hop and North­ern New Mex­ico, and he writes rhymes that are heart­felt and clever. If you’re a long­time Santa Fean, you’ll ap­pre­ci­ate many of the lyrics. But this al­bum is more than an in-the-know wink at the City of Holy Faith. It’s also mu­si­cally rich, and Or­tiz en­lists the right peo­ple to help thicken the pot, in­clud­ing dance­hall-reg­gae vo­cal­ist Mis­ter Kali, DJ Re-Flex, fe­male vo­cal­ist Shan­tal, and lo­cal hip-hop artist Cas Uno. Al­though the al­bum’s outro is a bit too long (a six-and-a-half-minute thank-you note that re­ally be­longs on the CD jacket), the rest of the tracks make up for it. This is an­other solid serv­ing of hip-hop from some­one who re­fuses to sell out his roots. For that, it’s worth ev­ery penny. — Rob DeWalt

Mark J. Or­tiz, aka Cir­cum­fer­ence, has an in­grained sense of place and love of mu­sic that shine through on the 14-track ‘Newmex­i­flow.’

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