Monday, July 28, 2008

I have been listening to some music with an electronic bent lately. NOMO is a collective based in Michigan, whose music is a fascinating amalgam of jazz, afrobeat and R&B. They use a number of African instruments and infectious horn riffs, along with mixing in some subtle synths and keyboards. It adds up to a very interesting multicultural stew of music that draws on the likes of Fela Kuti and Funkadelic but has its own unique sound. I found their new album Ghost Rock to be excellent, an almost narcotic and hypnotic blend of musics. Tracks like "Ghost Rock" and "Last Beat" sound like what would happen if you mashed up electric period Miles Davis with an afrobeat band.

The Bottesini Project's live album Bottesini adheres to a more straight up jazz fusion esthetic. The band and some special guests hit the stage with no pre-planning, and allowed the music to take them wherever it pleased. This takes a lot of moxie to do and in some cases like the long form improvisations "Time Zone Break" and "Change" things come together quite well. But on some other parts of this disc it's clear that the collective was directionless and looking for a spark. The sheer length of the album also plays against it and over the (very) long haul, time spent waiting for something to happen overwhelms the coherent music.

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