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Pat Mastelotto / Tobias Ralph: ToPaRaMa

Glenn Astarita By

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The King Crimson connection is inherent on this program by two powerhouse drummers Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson, David Sylvian) and Tobias Ralph (Defunkt, Adrian Belew Power Trio). After performing via a dual-drumming attack for the spinoff The Crimson ProjeKCt, they sensed profuse synergy and capitalized on this aura by venturing into the studio, here featuring contributions by longtime KC bassist, Chapman Stick denizen and fabled session artist, Tony Levin, keyboardist Roy Powell, Italian bass superhero Lorenzo Feliciati and other notables, lending their talents.

It's an electro-acoustic mélange of ferocious rhythmical jaunts, framed with transcendental atmospherics along with the drummers massive beats, pummeling tribal breakouts and polyrhythmic exchanges. The superfine audio engineering process is an enhancer amid the excellent separation, and briskly detailed soundstage. "New O" is a standout, framed on an inconspicuous, ambient-electronica melody line, akin to Brian Eno's early work. Yet the differentiator here equates to the drummers' weighty straight-four backbeats and the supporting cast's big e-bass lines, streaming electronics and bizarre soundscapes across a humble and hummable primary motif. Even some of the drums sounds are electronically altered within the toe-tapping groove, escalated by alternating toms patterns and ricocheting effects. Thus, the album poses more than just a rhythmic slugfest. Contrarily, it's quite musical whilst there's no denial that the leaders' energized and concentrated methodology resides as the principle source of interest.

Track Listing: Willie's in the Backyard; NY5; Mama Will Bark; Little People; Sing Sang Sung; Floor Over Heaven; Up Heavy; New 0; Moo Bab; BaBaBoom; Rendezvous with Rama pt1;OM; Bad Ass Van, Man.

Personnel: Pat Mastelotto: drums, percussion, sound design; Tobias Ralph: drums, cowbell, Rhodes; Markus Reuter: U8 Touch guitar; Roy Powell: Rhodes and Moog samples; Lorenzo Felicity: bass, keys, strings; Tony Levin: upright bass; David Rothenberg: clarinet; Angelica Sanchez: piano; Bernhard Wöstheinrich: soundscapes; Bill Munson: vocals, samples; Leashya Padma Munson: vocals, samples; Robert Fisher: spoken words.

Title: ToPaRaMa | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: 7d Media Records

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