Instrumental Pastiche

NOMO’s influences are intensely varied. While it’s logical enough to detect Afrobeat in the stuttered drums of the Michigan six-piece, there’s also Krautrock in the motoring basslines and jazz in the versatile trumpet and trio of saxophones. But that’s only the beginning of getting your head around the band. Last year’s Invisible Cities — NOMO’s fourth album and its third for the California label Ubiquity — exhibits such a kaleidoscopic collision of sounds that it’s more satisfying to let the music breeze past than try to deconstruct it. Still, there are unique earmarks on each track, such as the funk strut of “Patterns,” steel drums of “Bumbo,” and bamboo flutes of “Crescent.” Vibrant soloing is a constant, as is a thirst for the next well of inspiration. The players adopt even more of a party vibe live, breaking out three drum sets as well as custom-made electric kalimbas (African thumb pianos). Having provided backing live and on record for His Name Is Alive, whose Warn Defever is the band’s regular producer, NOMO has seen its loosey-goosey range become second-nature. And as sophisticated as this music is on the surface, underneath it’s all sweaty, primal joy.

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