Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It


Ghost Rock (Ubiquity)

Wednesday, Jul 30 2008

The Detroit-based instrumental group NOMO used to get tagged as an Afrobeat band, but that label was always too narrow. On two previous full-lengths — 2004's self-titled debut and 2006's brilliant follow-up New Tones — the eight-or-so-piece ensemble mixed homemade electronics and hymnlike horn serenades with polyrhythmic funk grooves, placing it closer to instrumental rock bands like Tortoise than to Fela Kuti–inspired contemporaries.

On Ghost Rock, the band has left the Afrobeat label behind for good. The album adds more percussion, more electronics, and more distorted thumb pianos, landing somewhere in among the German art rock of Can, the far-out space funk of On the Corner–era Miles Davis, and the extended textural experimentation of composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen and Steve Reich. The members get some help — world-renowned drummers Adam Rudolph and Hamid Drake lend a hand on a few tracks, and on "All The Stars" their dense thicket of percussion pushes the band toward the hypnotic. But this is NOMO's album — in some ways a leap away from previous efforts but a leap forward too, the horn section blasting through pointier than ever on "Round the Way" and "Last Beat" and the rhythm section more tightly wound.

If there's a fault here, it's that Ghost Rock trades the more concise song structures and melodies of New Tones for deeper texture, a focus that allows the songs meander a tad too long. Still, even if this is a transitional album, it's an impressive one whose serpentine sound gets only more rewarding with repeated listens.

About The Author

Ezra Gale


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Phish at the Bill Graham Auditorium
    Phish is in the midst of a block of sold out shows at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (October 27-29). The Monday night concert featured a rare first set opener of “Walfredo” with the band members switching instruments for the song. The evening’s highlights included John Fishman and his iconic vacuum cleaner solo and favorites such as Chalk Dust Torture, Slave to the Traffic Light, Axilla, Rift, 2001 Space Odyssey, and Maze. The show also featured Phish’s debut of a, seemingly impromptu, version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to with roaring approval of the, singing along, crowd. With Game 6 being tonight, partying Phish fans will join Giants fans in Civic Center Plaza where there will be a World Series viewing party on a large screen set up by the City. Photography by Jamie Soja.
  • The 4th Annual Masquerotica 2014 - NSFW
    The theme this year was Carnaval Mystique for the 4th Annual Masquerotica at The Factory. Attendees were entertained by strip dance, trapeze, and live music. Photographs by Calibree Photography.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular