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Yohimbe Brothers: The Tao of Yo (2004)

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Yohimbe Brothers: The Tao of Yo How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Hard rock psycho-turntabulism that pushes the envelope.

The Yohimbe Brothers once again deliver their eclectic blend of rock, DJ mixing, rap lyrics, and other elements on The Tao of Yo. The duo, whose name is based loosely on an African herbal aphrodisiac, consists of guitarist Vernon Reid (Living Colour, Vernon Reid & Masque) and turntablist DJ Logic ( The Anomaly ). Their fertile collaboration began in 2002 with their well-received debut, Front End Lifter , and the new music continues on the same path of experimentation with a modern trans-cultural and urban blend.

Both artists are founding members of the Black Rock Coalition and have traversed the fringes of music with progressive tendencies. Vernon Reid is an electric guitarist in every sense of the word, combining fretboard wizardry with an acute sense of style and open ideas. DJ Logic (Jason Kibler) has produced his own material and has also brought his turntable magic into works with other seminal musicians like Medeski, Martin and Wood, John Scofield, and Joshua Redman.

Enriched by various musical guests, the recording offers a distinct vibe that moves and grooves as Reid brings an array of guitar styles from head-banger riffs to subtle jazz chords, while Logic scratches, samples, and mixes sounds impressively with an unobtrusive mastery that colors the music like splashed paint on a vivid canvas. But these splotches are applied with great finesse.

The opening cut, "Shine For Me," features an African rhythm with cool spoken words by poet and vocalist Latasha Nevada Diggs as Reid and Logic provide spastic guitar and turntable action. Next in line is "The Secret Frequency," with guitar and voice loops behind a techno-hyped syncopation.

Not just about bringing the "noize," the lyrics are also socially conscious and hit on current news bites such as inner city political unrest on "More From Life," the media influence on "TV," and "Words They Use," featuring vocals by Bos Omega and Taylor McFerrin (vocalist Bobby McFerrin's son).

Divergent pieces such as "Shape 4," "Noh Rio," and "No Pistolas" (sung by Ricky Quinnones) show the Spanish influence as the music is mixed with live cornet and bass and drum musicians. The instrumental cut "Overcoming" has Reid playing a hypnotic acoustic guitar riff that is layered with distortion guitar and echo effects, grounded by a seriously funky backbeat laid down by Logic and guest bassist Jared Nickerson.

The strangest sounds on the recording exist on "Shape 1," with a live tap dancer and a flat top guitar melody that brings to mind a bluesy Spaghetti Western film theme. The music concludes with the festive "Perfect Traveller" wrapped in a Euro/Latin/African rhythm, surrounded by sound effects. While not for everyone's taste, this herbal mix of music is potent; the Yohimbe Brothers continue to produce sounds that defy genres and combine the best of many elements into a most noteworthy package.

Track Listing: 1. Shine For Me 2. The Secret Frequency 3. More From Life 4. Shape 4 5. Noh Rio 6. TV 7. 30 Spokes 8. Unimportance 9. No Pistolas 10. Overcoming 11. Words They Use 12. Shape 1 13. Perfect Traveller (Tourist Europe)

Personnel: Yohimbe Brothers: Vernon Reid (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, guitar synthesizer); DJ Logic (sound effects, turntables). Additional personnel include: Latasha Nevada Diggs, Taylor McFerrin, Bos Omega, Ricky Quinnones (vocals); Shantyman (spoken vocals); Goodandevil (various instruments, programming); Jared Nickerson (bass guitar); Eddie Hall (congas, bongos, dumbek, percussion); Maya Jenkins (taps); various artists.

Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings

Style: Fringes of Jazz


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