Monday, May 11, 2009

NOMO - Invisible Cities (Ubiquity, 2009)

What would you get if you mashed up Sun Ra, Fela Kuti and a really hip club DJ? Probably something like NOMO, which plays music that draws on jazz, afrobeat and a host of other influences and combines them in an intricate stew of hypnotic and polyryhthmic music. Nomo combines traditional percussion and horn instruments with devices of their own making, akin to bands like The Art Ensemble of Chicago or Konono No. 1 who also used self made percussion as part of their sound. "Invisible Cities" opens the album with some powerful riffs from the horns and mesmerizing percussion. "Patters" adds psychedelia to the group's sound, certainly not a stretch and a good fit, much like the trippy "Nocturne" which has percussion and instruments that sound like a kalimba or thumb piano interleaved with understated moaning and chanting vocals. The whole sound takes on the air of a religious rite or a snippet from a larger ceremony. "Crescent" has some sweet and mellow flute and a great groove, and "Elijah" is a straight up free jazz freak out with the horns barrelling flat out for parts unknown. Although it is a little tough to describe adequately, I enjoyed the music here quite a bit. The music has a spell that is fascinating and stimulating, and the short LP length of the album keeps the music from overstaying its welcome and becoming monotonous.
Invisible Cities -

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