Ghost Rock

Ghost Rock

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further info

Official Release Date  Jun 17, 2008
Artist  Nomo
Genre  Pop
Version  US
PAX-Code PAX0005134170
Item Code  0780661123019


  • Manufacturer: Ubiquity ( UBIQ )

track listing

1. Brainwave2. All the Stars3. Round the Way4. Rings5. My Dear6. Ghost Rock7. Last Beat8. Three Shades9. Nova


One of the most satisfying aspects of listening to Elliot Bergman's NOMO octet is the direct progression, change, and growth of their sound over their three full-length recordings from the Afro-funk and dub leanings of their self-titled debut; to the wonky sonic textures that blended hard funk, Brazilian rhythms, and African-styled folk melodies with modal jazz and percussive distortion on percussion instruments on New Tones; to this, an album that winds rock of many different stripes into the proceedings while losing none of the elements from earlier albums. Indeed, on Ghost Rock one senses a very precise balance, in composition, arrangement, performance, and production. What's hip is that none of it sounds precious or manipulative. The elements of surprise in Bergman's compositions and in the band's arrangements are ever present here. No matter how familiar one becomes with any track on this set, there is something new to be heard, a bubbling yet subtle groove that just pops out from the center of this wonderfully dense mix. The saxophones and trumpets that have become a benchmark base in NOMO's attack are still here in a massive blend, but they've been tempered with amplified kalimbas, synthesizers (used as rhythm instruments more than as sound effects machines), and a more diversified guitar and percussion attack (and enhanced by some name guests who include Hamid Drake, Adam Rudolph, and Josh Abrams, to name a few). The title cut uses Erik Hall's razor-sharp but distorted electric guitar riff, a low-in-the-bone bassline, and a drifting Rhodes piano to create a large space for enormous trumpet and saxophone lines and solos that push the track deep into a pocket of rockist dynamics as they meet long, intricate, and rhythmic reed and brass melodic lines and cracking congas, a drum kit, and kalimba. "Last Beat" is even more pronounced with its funky rock skein. The Prophet and ARP 2600 make great atmospheric instruments, though they too have idiosyncratic but defined pulses, and Hall's electric guitar stokes an intense, funkified rhythmic intensity before the inventive tenor and baritone solos. There are stranger numbers, too, such as album opener "Brainwave," with an actual brainwave monitor played by Bergman. It resembles a kind of Pygmy vocal chant (really!) as sonically treated by Brian Eno and David Byrne that gets propelled by Hall's kit drums, a circular bassline, synth grooves, and the tenor and hand percussion. It's one killer way to start a set, where movement, atmosphere, texture, space, and groove all come together to blend spiritual jazz, funky space rock, and something indefinable into a whole. The distorted kalimbas are nearly metallic in the way they introduce "All the Stars." This sound blends elements of Miles Davis, Olatunji, percussionist Big Black, Eric Dolphy, andPharoah Sanders, but the combination is unique; it sounds only like NOMO because of the inherent rock bent in the melodies. Dig Warn Defever's intricate guitar work, the wah-wah trumpet solo by Ingrid Racine, and the kit work of Drake. The enormous horns that blast out over the drums, guitar, and basslines in "My Dear" bring that entire sense of Nigerian modality into the view of deep Yankee funk and hard rock complete with a smoking alto solo by Joey Dosik. The bottom line is that despite some of the pinpointed references above, NOMO have created their own brand of music from these pieces one that is cohesive, dramatic, fluid, seamless, and lyrical. It defies expectations and easy categorization. Ghost Rock is a giant leap forward. This is the instrumental band to watch. Period

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SN: 222 | 1007 { 58 } | | WS: 1 | | 1