Thomas Carbou -- Directions

Reviews, Music-Related

230202 Kodo, Ladysmith at Disney Hall, 2023

Immaculate performances, conservative compositions

200321 KaDON practice pad

Frustratingly limited

180617 Thomas Carbou -- Directions

A true album! Plus my ideal balance of catchy and quirky.

120418 Mark Miyoshi odaiko stand

Reclaimed wood, amazing craftsmanship.

Thomas Carbou -- Directions

Patrick Graham plays percussion on this new recording by Thomas Carbou and it's incredible!  I didn't know about Carbou until this album, but I'm a huge fan now.  The music is wide-ranging and rich, with an improvisational energy that gives life to the loops and electronic bits.

The album is four triptychs: "South", "East", "North", and "West".  They really work well.  Each track is a distinct movement and the threes combine to form satisfying 10~15-minute pieces.  Track 1 (of the "South" triptych) is slow and ambient, building to beautiful sax and clay pot percussion on track 2, leading to the electronic loop on track 3, with all of Patrick's shakers, cymbals, bells, and other noise makers (and what sounds like awesome berimbao).  It's 15 minutes of beauty!

The second triptych, "East", follows a similar pattern, featuring a wonderful frame drum solo that morphs into a sax feature, until looped electronics raise the energy in the third part.  Track 6 is possibly my favorite of the album (hrm...  maybe 11?... maybe 3?...  argh!), with a guitar loop and drums in 5/4 that form a burning foundation for soaring sax melodies and tambourine on top.  The loop gives it a mean, badass feel and everyone's playing is inspiring.

The third and fourth triptychs change the order of elements but work cohesively in their own way.  The album ends with a high-energy rap-like, spoken-word-like piece built of unintelligible vocal snippits.  I'm really curious how this was done!

This album is the kind of thing I'm hoping to be able to create someday.  The music feels honest and unique, with great musicianship.  The songs have my ideal balance of catchy/sweet and quirky.  Someone get this band to Los Angeles!!