202

NOMO: Invisible Cities

By

Sign in to view read count
Having started out in clubs around the University of Michigan as an octet (sometimes larger), enchanted by the Afrobeat of Fela (seasoned with a bit of avant jazz), on Ghost Rock (Ubiquity, 2008), NOMO emerged as much more inspired by the clanging junkyard percussion of Congolese Konono No. 1 and German eccentrics such as Can and Kraftwerk than by the work of John Coltrane or Charles Mingus. That was a daring record, simultaneously a natural step in this ambitious collective's evolution and a great leap forward in sonic originality. Invisible Cities serves as a sort of summation, gathering a few tracks that would have fit perfectly on Ghost Rock, a few more easily linked to the band's beginnings and a pair of carefully selected, representative covers.

Invisible Cities visits a lot of territory in its relatively brief 42-minute run time. "Elijah" is a swirling, modal Africa Brass-style freeform overture that precedes "Nocturne," which features NOMO's signature electric kalimba on top of a steady bass line, vocalizing over the drums and a hazy guitar coming out of the shadows. "Waiting" and "Patterns" are classic funk workouts, offering hot soloing and steady rhythmic vamping, while "Crescent" and "Banners on High" turn down the gas and set the mood via soothing flutes and gentle Rhodes keyboards.

The decision to remake Tom Ze's "Ma" comes across as particularly inspired statement of purpose. Ze was at the forefront of Brazil's Tropicalia movement in the late 1960s, but his music quickly became unclassifiable, marked by Afro-Brazilian beats, folk forms, homemade instruments, musical erudition and a general unwillingness to conform. NOMO's cover is faithful to the original, with leader and chief songwriter Elliot Bergman's warm-jet bass clarinet offsetting the sharp plinking of synth noise as the melodic lines of the horn section and dreamy soundscape vocals worm their way into your head.

Track Listing: Invisible Cities; Bumbo; Waiting; Crescent; Patterns; Ma; Banners on High; Elijah; Nocturne.

Personnel: Dan Bennett: baritone saxophone; Elliot Bergman: synthesizer, arranger, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, vocals, Fender Rhodes, bamboo flute, ARP 2600, electric kalimba, Prophet 5; Natalie Bergman: vocals; Warn Defever: percussion, electric kalimba; Joey Dosik: alto saxophone; Erik Hall: guitar, percussion, conga, tambourine, vocals, kalimba, Fender Rhodes, temple blocks, log drums, electric kalimba; Quin Kirchner: percussion, congas, drums, electric kalimba; Jason Murdy: congas, bells; Dan Piccolo: drums; Ingrid Racine: trumpet; Jamie Register: bass, vocals; Hitoko Sakai: percussion, electric kalimba; Justin Walter: trumpet, vocals, EWI.

Title: Invisible Cities | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Ubiquity Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Sektion 3-7" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 3-7
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Mata Hati" CD/LP/Track Review Mata Hati
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Real Feels - Live Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Real Feels - Live Vol. 1
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Sing House" CD/LP/Track Review Sing House
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "Malamute" CD/LP/Track Review Malamute
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "In Times Like These" CD/LP/Track Review In Times Like These
by James Nadal
Published: May 13, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.