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Anyone could be forgiven for approaching this album with trepidation: when a quartet from the Bay Area consisting of violin, string bass, guitar, and Indian percussion claims to make music that fuses jazz, electronica, and the classical traditions of both Europe and India, it would be only natural to expect the results to be more fuzzy-minded than compelling. But Gojogo confound those expectations in a couple of ways. First, they completely avoid anything like wanky-pseudo-mysticism; there is no attempt to create a false sense of spirituality by recourse to exotic Orientalist gestures ("Oooh, a sitar! This music must be spiritual!"). Second, there is no self-indulgent jazz-fusion noodling; instead, Gojogo present an album of pieces that, even during apparently improvised sections, sound and feel tightly and carefully composed. There are moments that recall the best work of Henry Cow (notice in particular the very fine interplay between violin and electric guitar on "Escapist," which also evokes both the minimalism of vintage Steve Reich and some of King Crimson's more contemplative pieces), and others that border on ambient tranquility (the quietly lovely title track and "God Doesn't Make Junk"). While the general mood is fairly subdued, "Firebird" gets just a little bit overwrought, and the group's rendition of "Bali Hai" is just weird; more successful is the surreptitious jauntiness of "Turbines," which cleverly juxtaposes ethereally layered female vocals with funky, almost swinging bass and percussion parts. Electronic samples are wielded with an almost supernatural subtlety -- even listening carefully, you will sometimes miss them, which makes everything that much more fun and interesting. But mostly the mood conveyed by this album is one of complex quietude and of great musical intelligence worn lightly.
|Label:||Porto Franco Records|
Performance CreditsGojogo Primary Artist
Elias Reitz Guitar,Percussion,electronics
Stuart Bogie Flute,Tenor Saxophone
Eric Perney Bass
Roger Riedlbauer Guitar
Sarah Jo Zaharako Violin,Vocals
Aram Shelton Bass Clarinet
Tim Strand Percussion,Drums
Alex Kelly Cello
Will Sprott Vocals
Gabriel Robinson Tabla
Technical CreditsRichard Rodgers Composer
Oscar Hammerstein Composer
Monte Vallier Engineer
David Wilson Artwork
Mulatu Astatke Composer
Elias Reitz Engineer