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Nomo - Ghost Rock | Remarkably Protean Composers

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Artist: Nomo
Album: Ghost Rock
Label: Ubiquity Records
Release Date: June 17, 2008

Nomo have found themselves at the intersection of utmost experimentalism and a certain savoir-faire. Much like Sun Ra's work during his sojourn in New York, the songs on Ghost Rock—their third album to date—are far removed from previous work. And the assemblage of these spatial jams is such that it is nearly impossible to discern the composition from the improvisation.

Every strain plays out like a highly-improvised jam session from disciplined band leader Elliot Bergman's rather eclectic, sponge-like mind. "My Dear," which most closely resembles "New Song" from 2006's New Tones, explicitly asserts a continuity that is often misconstrued as free music. However, in all likelihood, Bergman's intent is far removed from simply rehashing the tone of his venerable predecessors.

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Nomo - "My Dear"

Surely, Bergman extemporizes touching melodies effortlessly in a similar manner. And, furthermore, Nomo are not simply pandering to people's baser instincts. Rather, they cater to connoisseurs of a distinctive, unabated mash of polyrhythmic Afrobeat rhythms and funk-infused free-form improvisations. They certainly aim to push music to its absolute limit—a pretty perverse effort considering the state of music in this day and age.

Yet, ultimately, their integrative approach—forcibly fusing old grooves with new—proves gripping in its way. While seemingly disorderly, songs like "Brainwave" and "All The Stars" feature a variety of home-made instruments, including Bergman's homemade Mbira and a mysterious electronic oscillator respectively. All in all, Ghost Notes finds Nomo maintaining continuous action and self-consistent detail through an assortment of genres. The band is far more percipient than ever before. And perhaps that is why such a vibrantly diverse body of work is so hard to compartmentalize.