For their second collaboration, guitarist Leo Kottke and former Phish bassist Mike Gordon recorded in Nassau, Bahamas, with the intention of infusing their delicate and precise instrumentation with the easy calypso rhythms native to the island. Where they succeed, as on the acoustic funk of "Oh Well" and on the sweet "Cherry Country," the guitar, bass, Neil Symonette's dexterous percussion and Kottke's vocals sound both complex and sparse, carefully crafted and beautiful.
The island-vibe becomes a detraction, however, on the labored, monotone cover of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion," the generic "The Grid," and a stripped-down but boring cover of Phish's "Ya Mar" (itself a cover of a song by the Mustangs, the Bahamian band Gordon states as his inspiration for this album). Proof here, then, that musical innovation lies in looking forward and reaching a new destination, not playing with a conceit and geographical goal already in mind.
RCA Victor Web site
|Nine Black Alps - Nine Black Alps EP||Coloma Dovetail|