There is a Greg Proops joke that goes something like, “White people have contributed nothing good to the face of music,” and then goes on to list all of the highly popular realms of black music such as Jazz, Funk, and now with the newly emerging wide scope of music in general, African polyrhythm. Whether or not it is a joke or merely a statement, there is a recipe in it. Take all of the above, and mix them together in a saucepan until smooth and cohesive. Put the saucepan aside and label it “Afrobeat.” Now in a separate pot, mix a little of dash Detroit, a serving of University of Michigan grads, a few teaspoons of record labels, and just a slice of Warren DeFever. Now pour the two mixtures into a separate dish and let them stew. The unique part of this recipe is that in this mixture, the ingredients will actually form themselves in an ordered fashion, though it does take time, but the rewards are well worth the wait.
As said before, the band consists mainly of University of Michigan grads, but has grown continuously since their inception and now the band has grown to more than fifteen on some live shows. With such a big band, it is almost impossible not to have a great live show. The strength of their live performances got them selling their debut album, The Nomo LP, produced by His Name is Alive’s Warren DeFever, and was released on Ypsilanti Records. A year later, they would get Japanese release by P-vine Records. Two tracks have been selected from their debut release to be a part of compilations, each of which was handled by two different labels, Ghostly International and Kindred Spirits. Now finally, they have gotten around to releasing their next LP, New Tones.
Nomo is known for their extensive use for heavy rhythmic percussion and free flowing horns. New Tones does not depart from that basic sound, but adds to it, using ’70s funk guitar riffs, free jazz improvisation, and electronica. This intricate works webs like a spider and is just as strong as its silk. The first track, “Nu Tones,” submerges the listener into the Nomo style with immediate polyrhythmic percussion and horns, and a great bass line to boot. The album goes from the softer urban sounds of “Hand and Mouth,” to the almost tribal sounds of “Fourth Ward.” As it bears perplexity in complexity wrapped in a calamity of climaxes all throughout the album, any passerby to a pair of headphones playing New Tones is sure to be infected with a revived rhythm from great musical movements past, a funky Frankenstein of aural transcendence.
Tortoise – TNT
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra – Who is This America?
Konono No. 1 – Congotronics