383

NOMO: Ghost Rock

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
NOMO: Ghost Rock
The initial sound heard on the opening "Brainwave" offers a first insight into the music of NOMO—the sound of composer, multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Elliot Bergman "playing" an actual brainwave monitor. It's an important clue: NOMO finds music where other people find noise.

Ghost Rock is not an easy listen. It is inventive, challenging, and rewarding, and very often like an onion—each song grows through many layers, and they can be pungent enough to bring tears to the ears. But it is not easy.

"All the Stars" shines with icy cool. Electric kalimba (NOMO's trademark sound) and percussion seem to breed and spawn in the rhythm bed, while Bergman's saxophone and other saxophones and horns build and release melodic tension. This rhythm track is the essential sound of NOMO—know this sound, and you know NOMO. More than this, "All the Stars" wordlessly explains how NOMO's modern electronic jazz extends the continuum from foundational late '70s jazz experimenters such as Miles Davis and progressive rockers like King Crimson, Can, and Gongzilla.

Ensemble and individual saxophones from Bergman, Daniel Bennett, and Joey Dosik, dominate several tunes, in particular "Round the Way," "Rings," and "My Dear," which like a suite whiz past as a collective blur. "Rings" is a complete saxophone and rhythmic raveup, where neither the hard-charging horn section nor the rhythm section concedes any ground. "My Dear" locks into step with a barbed guitar hook, which pins it down to be scorched by saxophone solo after solo.

Later, "Last Beat" sounds more like something titled "Postcards from the Howling Saxophone Hurricane," although with a funky rhythm guitar hook that lends a '70s retro feeling, like the chase scene in a superfly cop action drama, and a liberating saxophone/percussion breakout jam.

"Nova" gently rocks its coda, but most of the rest of Ghost Rock is almost too thick and dense, almost too much. It is almost too much... but it's just enough.

Track Listing

Brainwave; All the Stars; Round the Way; Rings; My Dear; Ghost Rock; Last Beat; Three Shades; Nova.

Personnel

Josh Abrams: bass; Dan Bennett: contrabass clarinet, baritone and tenor saxophone; Elliot Bergman: bass, clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone; Maracas Mbira: Fender Rhodes, Arp 2600, electric kalimba, Prophet 5, SH-101; Warn Defever: guitar; Joey Dosik: alto saxophone; Hamid Drake: percussion, drums, bata; Erik Hall: guitar, drums, tambourine, bells, shaker, roto toms, log drums; Chilali Hugo: harp; Quin Kirchner: conga; Jason Murdy: percussion, conga, bells; Dan Piccolo: drums; Ingrid Racine: trumpet; Jamie Register: bass; Adam Rudolph: congas; Justin Walter: trumpet.

Album information

Title: Ghost Rock | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Ubiquity Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Speak Low II
Speak Low II
Lucia Cadotsch
Read Time OutTakes
Time OutTakes
The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Read Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Steve Masakowski and the Masakowski Family

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.