Further adventures in psychedelic disco cumbia from one-man-band C.A.M.P.O.S. on the much-awaited second studio album
C.A.M.P.O.S. is a one-man tropical electronic psych band consisting of multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer Joshua Douglas Camp. Though C.A.M.P.O.S. stands for Cumbias And More Psychedelic Original Sounds, there are no limits to Camp’s musical creativity, with the project taking cues from everything from Americana and pop rock to Cuban son and German electronica. This is no surprise as Camp has been involved with many diverse groups over the years, including Latin-flavored outfits Chicha Libre, Locobeach and Los Crema Paraíso, but also his country band Westwork, the Eastern-European klezmer quintet Litvakus and literary rockers One Ring Zero.
Since releasing his debut double LP as C.A.M.P.O.S., Miracles & Criminals, on Peace & Rhythm in 2016, Camp has developed his repertoire into a live show that has garnered a devoted following, and which has also seen the live band he assembled evolving into its own distinct entity, Locobeach.
When the pandemic forced Camp into exile he used the time to once more focus on C.A.M.P.O.S. and his one-man-band skills. This initially resulted in two albums, Shake Up The World: Live In The Studio Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, both performed live and recorded in one take at his home studio (and both digitally released by Peace & Rhythm, in 2020 and 2021 respectively).
In addition, he continued to work on the long-awaited follow-up studio album to Miracles & Criminals, which had begun years prior and progressed in the fleeting moments when his other projects allowed. With time to once more concentrate on C.A.M.P.O.S., the album soon began to take shape, eventually coalescing into The Eighth Door. Though catalyzed by isolation, it is far from a solo effort, with Camp enlisting collaborators including pianist and arranger Marlysse Simmons (Bio Ritmo, Miramar), who had initially told Peace & Rhythm about Camp’s unreleased backlog of tropical tracks from back in the Chicha Libre days (which became Miracles & Criminals), to other Chicha Libre band mates Neil Ochoa and Karina Colis, as well as Gabo Tomasini (Yotoco), who was a founding member of Bio Ritmo and played in C.A.M.P.O.S.’s first live appearance in 2016.
As with all C.A.M.P.O.S. releases, The Eighth Door takes you on a cosmic trip to a multi-dimensional landscape of the mind where the body also knows the pleasures of dance and sensuality, but this time there is more focus, with fewer songs and a fuller sound. Yes there is a dark side to planet C.A.M.P.O.S., to which the album sometimes ventures, but ultimately the record is a voyage of self-discovery, making connections between sounds and sentiments that, on paper, appear unlikely companions. Yet, once bound together by the intimate circuitry of Joshua Camp’s creativity and serious songwriting skills, all elements gel in a gravity-defying way. Exotic-sounding electronic keyboards, jangly, fuzzy guitars and percolating percussion loops seamlessly carry the listener through two sides of galaxy-spanning mini epics, sometimes with vocals, sometimes instrumental, and often infused with the shuffling beat of Colombia’s cumbia rhythm with a few disco, rock or salsa accents thrown in for good measure.
Camp juxtaposes the raw and the smooth, destructive and redemptive, sweet and ominous, digital and analog, organic and synthetic, intimate and expansive, all of which combine into an apt metaphor for where we find ourselves today. On The Eighth Door C.A.M.P.O.S. pulls the great unknown to a realm just within our grasp.
Album cover art by Selina Josephs and photo of Joshua Camp by Julian Parker Burns. Released in conjunction with Calle de Campos, Hyperopia Records (Canada) and Sounds and Colours (UK). Digital album has five bonus tracks, which also come with download card for vinyl purchase.