NOMO – Invisible Cities NOMO – Invisible Cities

NOMO - Invisible Cities

NOMO - Invisible Cities

Last year’s Ghost Rock expanded NOMO’s sound beyond the Fela Kuti inspired jams that largely characterized their first two albums, adding in more jazz, electronic, and krautrock elements. It was also one of the best and least noticed albums of last year. Invisible Cities, their new album appropriately named after an Italo Calvino novel, is not as much of a step forward as Ghost Rock, but does continue to expand their territory and further prove that the newly slimmed down six-piece are not just afro-rock revivalist, but true sonic explorers.
African percussion is not the only thing that separates NOMO from a standard jazz-fusion band, they also build their own instruments and incorporate strange, otherworldly electronic elements into their horn-heavy stew. This combination that crystallized so beautifully on Ghost Rock, is on full display again here with the opening title track. As on this song, NOMO’s best work often revolves around a muscular, but catchy, horn hook and builds from there, sometimes with the horns devolving into free form John Zorn-esque freak outs while their incredible rhythm section keeps the momentum flowing.
Most amazing is that many of the stranger elements, mostly electronic sounding, seem to be able to drift in and out of the album. Occasionally I will put it on and it will sound like a straight up big band album, with recognizable instruments doing all the work. Other times the music lurches to and fro as it is attacked by strange electronic and metallic sounds and beats.
Have I mentioned that this album is fun as fuck? Talking about NOMO can get overly heady, as can often happen when talking about instrumental music made by people as knowledgeable and talented as these guys, but this album has no shortage of awesome, dancable rhythm.

With Ghost Rock proving that these guys have plenty going on beyond basic Kuti aping, Invisible Cities shows that they have no problem knowing where to go next. This album has a comfortable, lived in feel, and the work and commitment that these guys put into their music is evident. Two great albums in as many years, who else can do that these days?

NOMO - Invisible Cities, reviewed by coelho on 2009-05-20T00:50:24-07:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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