103

Earth People: Simple... Isn't It?

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Characterizing themselves as “the psychedelic free music experience,” Earth People formed in 2001 after performing together in what would have been a one-time-only TV appearance. In addition to a core of André Martinez, Doug Principato, and Jason Chandler, the band also includes a who’s who of New York musicians, including Karen Borca, Daniel Carter, Sabir Mateen, Mark Hennen, and Francois Grillot. Vocalist M brings a flexible six-octave range that finds its way through thorny passages like smoke. Reed rioteers Carter, Mateen, and Chandler keep the pot stirred, while Martinez and Grillot give the musicians something to come home to.

Principatto’s acoustic guitar glissando launches “Birthright,” and Martinez follows him in. An unidentifiable sound like an accelerating jet engine whine rises above the band to land as the voice of M, riding the top of her sixth octave. Carter and Mateen float flutes into the humid groove. Hennen peppers piano shards; Borca flies on bassoon. M sings soulful mid-range poetry; Carter and Mateen switch to trumpet and alto clarinet, respectively. Principato’s rhythm work adds unexpected color. Martinez keeps the beat in the cymbals, except to come down briefly bashing through the drums, then back.

A flash lick on acoustic guitar slings the musicians into “Bojangles.” Chandler, Carter, and Mateen each show what an alto can do, while M goes from sweet to raspy improvising vocals. By the time she sings “It’s not the kind of waltz that I expected,” the band breaks apart with Martinez keeping the fireworks grounded. Grillot reinforces the time, but has his own ideas about melody. M ends it with a raspy gin-soaked blues accompanied by Martinez on lounge hi-hat, the band swirling around them.

Switching to Fender Rhodes, Principato makes it funky with Grillot and Martinez happy to oblige on “Breaking the Malaise.” The horns and M openly improvise, Mateen at one point playing a riff for the rhythm section. All freedom breaks out, with altos, tenor and bassoon calling, responding, and dodging the two pianos. M roams the bottom of her lower octave, then things heat up with Principato back on e-guitar and M going stratospheric.

Earth People create a unique and lively collaboration on Simple... Isn’t It? , a free-flowing kinetic kaleidoscope of sound.


Track Listing: Birthright; Bojangles; Simple...Isn

Personnel: Andr

Title: Simple... Isn't It? | Year Released: 2004


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Whose Feet are These That are Walking" CD/LP/Track Review Whose Feet are These That are Walking
by Mike Jacobs
Published: October 9, 2017
Read "Storyteller" CD/LP/Track Review Storyteller
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 1
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 15, 2017
Read "Ephimeral" CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Duende Libre" CD/LP/Track Review Duende Libre
by James Nadal
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "I Know Who I Am" CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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