ToPaRaMa — ToPaRaMa
(7d Media no#, 2014, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-10-11The publicity for this release said it didn't sound like a "drummer's album," the implication presumably being that a drummer's album would be a bad thing. But for ToPaRaMa, neither is true. It does sound like a drummer's album (or a drummers' album, in this case), and it is not a bad thing at all. This is a much more organic effort than the XtraKcts & ArtifaKcts release more than ten years ago, where Pat Mastelotto assembled a bunch of Crimson-related recordings into something completely new — although "completely" is a matter of interpretation here. This time around he has partnered with Tobias Ralph, the other Crimson ProjeKCt drummer, along with a number of guests on bass, keyboards, and assorted other instruments; the two principles also cover some instruments besides percussion. In addition to a reworking of the Crimson tune "B'Boom," they present a set of tracks based around rhythmic patterns, which could end up being tedious in less capable hands (and feet). The results are not surprisingly reminiscent of Crimson tunes of the 90s and beyond era, all of which have featured Mastelotto, only with more emphasis on the percussion and without the guitars. But even for those either not familiar or not fond of the later Crimson era, ToPaRaMa presents a fascinating sound, seamlessly blending electronic and acoustic sounds, playing and programming. And while the drums take the lead, there's no lack of melodic material, and nothing resembling a traditional drum solo of either the rock or jazz variety. This is a fascinating glimpse into the minds of two great drummers whose talents extend far beyond hitting things with sticks.
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more