You can’t really give Carlos Nino too much praise as he’s gone and done it again with a little help from some of his closest friends, it’ll make you feel mighty high indeed!
Fans of Carlos with know from his work with Build An Ark, The Life Force, AmmonContact, Hu Vibrational, What’s The Science?, Carlos Y Gaby, Mia Doi Todd and many more that when we’re talking friends, he’s got access to a whole orchestra stretching from hip-hop atheistic, to acoustic folk, modern classical and minimal ambient; and he manages to squeeze all this into High With A Little Help From.
And fans of his Spaceways Radio Show (Spaceways KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles) will know he’s as likely to play some classical music as The Long Lost, or Mulatu Astatke (don’t forget the FLY podcast HERE) as The Beatles, CSNY as Yusef Lateef, Pharoah Sanders or Arthur Verocai or Joyce or any other Brazilian loveliness; you get the idea. So even as this album is mostly on a relaxed downtempo mood, expect inspiration to come from any musical avenue.
At one extreme, the track ‘Friends’ goes from a tribal percussive to experimental drone (featuring an explosive short burst of the beautiful Dwight Trible) to the gentle acoustic guitar breeze of ‘Rabbit Island’. These two tracks are the longest on the CD with the rest being shorter “collages” of sound as the concept for High With A Little Help From started in 2006 when Carlos was working on new tracks with members of Build An Ark and his other friends that was on Love Is The Answer.
Not that this is a Love Is The Answer Vol 2 as it’s far more ambient and experimental that is more sample based but taken from a live sessions; like outtakes but more cohesive.
Ni?±o is so much of a driving force in the musical community of LA, as much an organizer (like the Luckman shows) as producer, arranger, composer and musician. The African rhythms on ‘Aquarius’ fade into the film score of ‘Lonely Joined By Happy’; ‘With Azul’ is gentle guitar folk (Azul is Carlos’ son) compared to the ’9 Moons Full’ experimental modal space jam beats. Our man certainly is a cosmic space warrior and there are two wonderful short tracks on this album, ‘Ants And Elephants’ and ’9 Moons Return’ that nod at a Ra and Alice Coltrane in an ambient way.
This album is the antidote to Dorian Concept’s When Planets Explode and both are destined to be as influential as each other in their different ways; Carlos yes, yes your music is absolutely beautiful.
As a P.S. on last Friday’s Spaceways show, Carlos played one of his favourites, Bobby Hutcherson ‘Hello To Wind’ and by coincidence, a naughty re-edit has just come out as the latest in the RE-EDIT 12″ series (see review HERE).
Reviewed: Carlos Ni?±o & Friends – High With A Little Help From (Kindred Spirits) Cat. No: KS 027 CD/LP Release date: 12th March 2009
1 Thursday, August 9, 2007 (2:48)
2 9 Moons Full (3:16)
3 With Azul (3:03)
4 Ants And Elephants (1:55)
5 Aquarius (Rough Mix) (3:12)
6 Lonely Joined By Happy (3:06)
7 Rosarito / Creative Cries (3:48)
8 Friends (4:57)
9 9 Moons Return (1:23)
10 Rabbit Island (5:52)
11 Wonderwheel (3:10) (Bonus track not included on vinyl)